CONTAINS
For music (standard singles) and playlists on YouTube click on the available > buttons <
> Back 1959 Sun Schedule <

1959 SESSIONS (2)
February 1, 1959 to February 28, 1959

Studio Session for Cliff Gleaves, Circa February 1959 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Narvel Felts, February 1959 / Pink Records
Studio Session for Narvel Felts, Spring 1959 / Pink Records
Studio Session for Bobbie & The Boys, February 1, 1959 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Vernon Taylor, February 4, 1959 / Sun Records

Studio Session for Roland Janes & Eddie Cash, February 11, 1959 / Sun Records
- Story About The America's Musical Storyteller - 

Studio Session for James M. Van Eaton, February 11, 1959 / Sun Records
- James M. Van Eaton In His Own Words - 

Studio Session for Martin Willis, February 11, 1959 / Sun Records
- My Musical SoJourn by Martin Willis 2012 - 

Studio Session for Ray Smith, February 21, 1959 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Charlie Rich, February 25, 1959 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Ernie Barton, February 25, 1959 / Sun Records

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

FEBRUARY 1959

The singles PI 3536 ''The Minstrel Show'' b/w ''Three Little Guitars by Clement Travelers; PI 3537 ''Hopeless Love'' b/w ''If I Had My Way'' by Jimmy Demopoulos issued.

FEBRUARY 1, 1959 SUNDAY

''No Name Girl'' b/w ''Down By The Riverside'' (Sun 313) by Billy Riley issued.

FEBRUARY 2, 1959 MONDAY

Buddy Holly plays his final concert, using a band that includes Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup, in Clear Lake, Iowa. It's also the last show for J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and Ritchie Valens.

Pat Boone, the father of Debby Boone and son-in-law of Red Foley, appears on the cover of Life magazine.

''Dear Oakie'' singer/songwriter Doye O'Dell makes his second appearance on the ABC western ''Sugarfoot''.

FEBRUARY 1959

According to Barbara Barnes, ''About February, we put out a single on Billy Riley, the perennial sideman. It was ''Down By The Riverside'', a song everyone knew but with some newer lyrics. About the same time, we released Warren Smith's ''Sweet, Sweet Girl'' (February 15). Billy was rock and Warren was country. I gave each equal attention, but the Riley number was selling more. Actually I liked Warren's just as well. He had a very nice voice. Billy was better known than Warren because of his extensive touring with his Little Green Men. Also, his record of ''Red Hot'' had been pretty popular, as had his earlier novelty record about flying saucers''.

''Warren was the only musician who ever took out his career frustrations on me. During the period when we were trying to launch his record, he gave me the evil eye each time our paths crossed. He would sarcastically call me ''Mrs Riley'', and accuse me of denying him the success he deserved. He had a few other releases, and Sam thought he was a good singer, but we just couldn't get one of his records to take off. The reason had to do more with his material than his singing, I thought. He just didn't have a number 1 song'', Barbara said.

FEBRUARY 1959

Jud Phillips introduced Ersel Hickey and his manager to Kay Martin, vice-president of the Jerry Lee Lewis Fan Club at the Manhattan Hotel. Ersel, who was from Rochester, New York, was her buddy at the time and Jerry Lee Lewis was coming to town, so she invited Ersel to come meet him and to bring his guitar... so that Jerry might play it.

Cliff Gleaves had a perfectly acceptable voice but the star of his session was the song, ''Love Is My Business'', along with the guitar solo by Roland Janes. Gleaves, from Jackson, was one of Elvis Presley's buddies and was a local disc jockey, recording later for Jack Clement's Summer label and half of dozen others. Gleaves was an early member of the ''Memphis Mafia'', the inner circle that accompanied Elvis Presley everywhere in his early days of celebrity. Elvis went almost nowhere alone, whether it was to the movies, on motorcycle rides through town, to Hollywood to shoot the films he so disdained, or to Germany to serve his military obligation in 1958. The ''Mafia'' procured everything for Elvis, from drugs to pizza and girls. They were loyal and they were compliant.

Cliff Gleaves was among the first to be there. He is often described in books and other media coverage as ''rockabilly singer Cliff Gleaves'' and some of his early recordings have attained collectability status, although much of that probably stems from his association with Elvis. Indeed, Gleaves traveled west with Elvis in 1957 and 1958 and had minor roles in Jailhouse Rock and King Creole. Gleaves also landed a recording session at Sun in 1959.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Dating Cliff Gleaves' Sun recordings opens up a range of possibilities. One of the song, ''As Long As I Have You'', was one that Elvis performed in ''King Creole''; another was a Bill Cantrell-Quinton Claunch song, ''Love Is My Business'' in 1957 when they were working with Chuck Matthews at OJ Records.

Warming up for ''Love Is My Business'', Gleaves tried singing ''Your Cheatin' Heart'', a song Elvis had recorded a few weeks after ''As Long As I Have You'' in 1958. Another version of ''Love Is My Business'' became Gleaves' first single on Jack Clements's post-Sun indie label, Summer Records, and sounds as if it was recorded with another group. It's B-side ''Easy Goin' Guy'', was a Clement song copyrighted in February 1959. So there's a three-year range of dating possibilities.

The likeliest scenario is that ''Love Is My Business'' was recorded early in 1959. In fact, Jack Clement told James Dickerson that he was recording Gleaves on the night Sam Phillips fired him. ''Cliff Gleaves had hit another member of Elvis's entourage over the head with a tennis racquet and Elvis threw him out of the house. For some reason, Cliff was staying with me. At the time, I lived over in Frayser. It got into the evening and we'd been recording Cliff all day. Bill Justis had downed a few cocktails. I wanted to go home because it was snowing and I wanted to get across the bridge before it froze. We were in the control room. Cliff was telling jokes. I said, Cliff, we need to go'. Sam interpreted that as, 'You don't want to stay here and talk to this idiot'. In the meantime, him and Justis had been arguing''.

STUDIO SESSION FOR CLIFF GLEAVES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1958

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE CIRCA FEBRUARY 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - PROBABLY JACK CLEMENT

01 - "LOVE IS MY BUSINESS" B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Quinton Claunch-Bill Cantrell
Publisher: - Fellow Music
Matrix number: - S 102 - FS, FS, Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date February 1959
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Teenage Heaven (LP) 33rpm TH 576 mono
COUNTRY ROCKERS - VOLUME 3 - GOIN' WILD
Reissued: - 2000 Saar (CD) 500/200rpm Saar 41006 mono
THE BEST OF SUN ROCKABILLY - VOLUME 1

Despite a set of chancy lyrics (for the time) i.e. "sittin' and a thinkin' with my pencil in my hand", the macho "Love Is My Business" encom passed a strong hook and a surging backbeat. Local disc jockey Cliff Gleaves first cut a version at Sun, then resurrected the idea for Jack Clement's short-lived Summer label (Summer 501 1957) after the song had gained a late cover by Memphis piano player Bobby Wood. Gleaves ultimately made his mark as a key member of Elvis Presley's inner-circle.

Well, love is my business, got a lovely plan just sittin' here thinkin' like a business man gotta find my.

02 - ''YOUR CHEATIN' HEART'' – B.M.I. - 3:33
Composer: Hank Williams
Publisher: - Hiriam Music
Matrix number: - None - Rehearsal - Take 1 - Not Originally issued
Recorded: Unknown Date February 1959
Released: - 1984
First appearance: - Redita Records (LP) 33rpm Redita LP 124-14 mono
ROCK AND ROLL BLUES
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8277-8 mono
SUN ROCK AND ROLL - VOLUME 1
Reissued: 2019 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17504 mono
SUN SHINES ON HAND WILLIAMS

From the evidence of this session, Gleaves wasn't much of a talent. He had the mannerisms down pat (how could one live that close to Elvis and not absorb something?). But he had no sense of timing, which doomed several of takes of ''Your Cheatin' Heart''. In fact, it was finally decided to record a musical bed track, and allow Gleaves to work on overdubbing his vocal later, so as not to waste a perfectly good musical performance each time he came in late or early. A sax solo, probably played by Martin Willis was also overdubbed.

03 – ''EASY GOIN' GUY'' – B.M.I.
Composer: Jack Clement
Publisher: - Jack Clement Music
Matrix number: - S 101
Recorded: Unknown Date February 1959
Released: - Sun Unissued

04 – ''AS LONG AS I HAVE YOU'' – B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: Unknown Date February 1959
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
ROCK CLASSICS - AMPHETAMING ANNIE

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Cliff Gleaves - Vocal
Roland Janes - Guitar
Sid Manker - Bass
Charles "Pinky" Buehl - Drums
Charlie Rich - Piano

The next morning, Jack Clement arrived to find two letters (one for him and one for Bill Justis) from Phillips firing him, so the likeliest scenario is that he took Gleaves to Summer Records, and that Gleaves went to Germany to rejoin Elvis soon after the record was released. The letters were dated February 5 and appeared to have been typed by Sam. They were identical except for the salutation. ''Mr. Jack Clement'', Jack's began: ''Your services have been terminated with this company. Your services have been appreciated. I sincerely hope that you feel that they have. You must realize that much responsibility rests on my shoullders and that I have never tried to encoumber any encoumberance on any situation or circumstance that has ever occurred. Therefore, I feel that you two people have not entirely had the best interest of this company in mind. Please believe me when I say I'm sorry to loose you, but when we feel that we must know more than the man that's paying the bills, we must all prove it. My best, Appreciatively, Sam C. Phillips''.

After a suitably brief period of separation, Sam Phillips and Jack Clement renewed their friendship and continued to be the best of friends to the end of Sam's life. Bill Justis remained close as well, until his own early death at fifty-five, and whatever else Sam may have felt on the subject, he never said another word about it.

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

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Conway Twitty recommended Narvel Felts for the club circuit in Canada that he had been working prior to ''It's Only Make Believe'' becoming a number one record. He also recommended Ronnie Hawkins to that circuit. ''I had recommended both Conway and Ronnie to Pop Warner's and some other local places a little bit earlier and Conway started playing around my home area around 1957'', said Narvel Felts. ''Conway became quite successful in Canada then he recommended Ronnie Hawkins, who became quite successful. Then Conway recommended me and so January 5, 1959 we opened at the Flamingo Club in Hamilton, Ontario.

We had played Pop Warner's in Malden, Missouri on the Saturday night prior to that and my voice had started breaking that night, and we left after work and drove on ice and snow all the way to Hamilton. Took us all night Saturday and got to Hamilton on Monday morning and by the time we got there I had laryngitis and could not even talk. Luckely I did have a good band, so all I did was play guitar the first week and by the second week I was able to sing again. We wound up doing well on that circuit and that's where we worked mostly in 1959 and 1960. During that month at the Flamingo Club in Hamilton, Leon Barnett, Jerry Tuttle and myself wrote ''Three Thousand Miles'' in the dressing room. The some room that Conway Twitty and Jack Nance had written ''It's Only Make Believe'', said Narvel Felts.

''We got to London, Ontario which we played the entire month of February at the Brass Rail. When we got there two disc jockeys from CKSL in London came out to see us, one of them being Dean Hargopian. They invited us up to the studio to put down some of the new songs we had written. One afternoon we took the band and went up to CKSL Studios and sat up, and the engineer got some slap-back echo going, and we recorded ''Three Thousand Miles'' and three other songs, and I sent the original tape to Art Talmadge in Chicago and followed up with a phone call and David Carroll, the orchestra leader of Fascination-fame, talked to me. He was the head of A&R for Mercury at the time, and he said he thought they would pass on ''Three Thousand Miles'', and told me I could go elsewhere if I felt that strong about it. So when we got back home, I sent the tape to Chet Atkins in Nashville at RCA and also Hi Records had just been formed in Memphis, so I sent them a copy. Chet called me back and told me that he thought the song ''Darlin' Sue'' on there was the bag I needed to be in but he did not think the song was quite there. I got a call back from Hi saying that they thought ''Three Thousand Miles'' was a smash, and to get on down to the studio and record it. We went down to Memphis and tried to re-record it; we never could get the feel that we had on the original demo-tape that we did in the radio station in Canada, and so they wound up releasing that and it came out on Pink Records and was my first national chart hit. After it made the charts, Mercury Records sent me a magazine with ''Three Thousand Miles'' circled in the chart, saying, ''Narvel, we obviously missed on this one''.

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR NARVEL FELTS
FOR PINK RECORDS 1959

CKSL RADIO STATION STUDIO, LONDON, ONTARIO, CANADA
PINK SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE FEBRUARY 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – NARVEL FELTS & BAND

01 - ''THREE THOUSAND MILES'' - B.M.I. - 1:56
Composer: - Narvel Felts-Leon Barnett-Jerry Tuttle
Publisher: - Walmay Jac Publisher
Matrix number: - 2048
Recorded: Unknown Date February 1959
Released: - 1959
First appearance: - Pink Records (S) 45rpm standard single Pink 701-A mono
THREE THOUSAND MILES / CUTIE BABY
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16220-25 mono
NARVEL FELTS - DID YOU TELL ME

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Narvel Felts - Vocal & Guitar
Leon Barnett - Guitar
J.W. Grubbs - Bass
Bob Taylor - Drums
Jerry Tuttler – Piano

For Biography of Narvel Felts see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR NARVEL FELTS
FOR PINK RECORDS 1959

ROYAL RECORDING STUDIO
1320 SOUTH LAUDERDALE STREET, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
PINK SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE SPRING 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – RAY HARRIS

01 – ''CUTIE BABY'' - B.M.I. - 1:51
Composer: - Narvel Felts-Leon Barnett-Jerry Tuttle
Publisher: - Walmay Jac Publisher
Matrix number: - 2049
Recorded: Unknown Date February 1959
Released:
First appearance: - Pink Records (S) 45rpm standard single Pink 701-B mono
CUTIE BABY / THREE THOUSAND MILES
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16220-26 mono
NARVEL FELTS - DID YOU TELL ME

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Narvel Felts - Vocal & Guitar
Leon Barnett - Guitar
J.W. Grubbs - Bass
Bob Taylor - Drums
Jerry Tuttler – Piano

For Biography of Narvel Felts see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Cliff, Ed and Barbara Thomas were frequent visitors to the Sun studio during 1958. Their efforts resulted in three singles issued under the trio's name, and this, their final effort, issued by sister Barbara. It almost every case, the group laid down very competent and surprisingly commercial white pop music, with considerably more bite than most owing to Ed's bluesy piano and J.M. Van Eaton's drumming.

STUDIO SESSION FOR BOBBIE & THE BOYS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY FEBRUARY 1, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BILL JUSTIS

01 - "THESE SILLY BLUES" - B.M.I. - 1:36
Composer:- Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 352 - Master
Recorded: - February 1, 1959
Released: - June 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single > PI 3543-A <  mono
THESE SILLY BLUES / TO TELL THE TRUTH
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806-1-9 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6

"These Silly Blues" is driving and catchy, yet tame enough to sell to white teens. There's a bit of bite here, although its teeth have all been capped. The parents of those same white teens would have been quite comfortable as this 45 spun around. This is basically a Cliff Thomas record with Barbara taking over the lead vocal. Although not usually prized by record collectors, there is source for much pride in the four Phillips International singles made by the Thomas family, who continued to combine musical activities with running the family garment business in Jackson, Mississippi.

Fortunately, this record did not mark the end of recording activities for the Thomasses. They are known by collectors for a superior outing on Ace 613, titled "Do You No Wrong", billed as "Cliff and Ed Thomas featuring Fats on piano".

Cliff and Ed Thomas worked for Huey Meaux's publishing company and wrote "Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries" and "Lover's Holiday", both major soul and pop hits for Peggy Scott and Jo-Jo Benson on Shelby Singleton's SSS International Records in Nashville.

02 - "TO TELL THE TRUTH" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 351 - Master
Recorded: - February 1, 1959
Released: - June 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single > PI 3543-B < mono
TO TELL THE TRUTH / THESE SILLY BLUES
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806-1-10 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6

"To Tell The Truth" is make-out music. It borrows liberally from the anthem of such efforts, "Earth Angel" by the Penguins. The kind of vocal unison singing at the top was still being taken to the bank as recently as 1958 by Little Anthony and the Imperials with "Tears On My Pillow". With the exception of a not so strong release (the middle part of the song), this one had what it look to be a major hit in 1959. The verses are powerful and there are vocal hooks galore. its any body's guess why this didn't make it big. Perhaps Sun/Phillips International were simply not in a position to capitalize on music like this. Certainly, few would have mistaken it for Memphis product. It could have come just as easily as from New York or California.

03 - "I'M THE ONLY ONE (ALL YOUR LOVE)'' - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 341 - Master
Recorded: - February 1, 1959
Released: - March 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single > PI 3538-A < mono
ALL YOUR LOVE / TIDE WIND
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-4-23 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

The uptempo "I'm The Only One" (also known as "All Your Love") is weaker than previous Thomas material and Cliff's vocal is, with apologies, just awful. His reading of the word "day" in the second line is so flat its a wonder that Sam Phillips or Jack Clement or someone didn't simply abort the take. But as usual, if we could magically transform this into an instrumental track featuring Ed's rocking piano and an adventurous drummer (probably Jimmy van Eaton), we'd have something to smile about.

04 - "TIDE WIND" - B.M.I. - 1:45
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 342 - Master
Recorded: - February 1, 1959
Released: - March 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single > PI 3538-B < mono
TIDE WIND / ALL YOUR LOVE
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-4-24 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

"Tidewind", is a tad bizarre to say the least. Somebody, perhaps Ed or Barbara, should have understood that their admittedly cute adolescent sib was not up to sing ballads. This one lies beyond Cliff's evolving capabilities. When the song gets into that 4-chord, do you notice a melodic similarity to "Cattywampus" (Also known as "Tuf")? Its actually more than a similarity. Its a note for note vocal line based on that forbidden melody.

05 - ''THE LAST GOODNIGHT'' – B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: February 1, 1959
Released: 1999
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8353-23 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Cliff Thomas - Vocal and Guitar
Ed Thomas Jr. - Vocal and Piano
Barbara Thomas - Vocal
James M. Van Eaton - Drums

Cliff Thomas' final session and final record on PI is arguably his worst. This one pushes the formula til its paper thin. We don't know what happened to Ed and Barbara, but Cliff Thomas hung around the entertainment scene, such as it was, in Jackson, Mississippi, and was last seen "improving" the old Ace masters for reissues. Interviewed in 1990, he was on the point of leaving Ace to take up a position in the garment business in Jamaica. "Do they have country stations in Jamaica?" he asked quite innocently. "Man, I hate that Reggie music".

For Biographies of The Thomas Family see: > The Sun Biographies <
The Thomas Family's Sun/PI recordings can be heard on their playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

FEBRUARY 3, 1959 TUESDAY

A small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed three American rock and roll pioneers, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson. The day was later called ''The Day the Music Died'' by Don McLean, in his song "American Pie". The plane crash has been called the first and greatest tragedy rock and roll has ever suffered. "The Winter Dance Party" was a tour that was set to cover twenty-four Midwestern cities in three weeks.

A logistical problem with the tour was the amount of travel, as the distance between venues was not a consideration when scheduling each performance. Adding to the disarray, the tour bus used to carry the musicians was not equipped for the weather; its heating system broke shortly after the tour began. The condition of the bus and the grueling pace of the tour are evidenced by the fact that Holly's drummer, Carl Bunch, had been hospitalized in Ironwood, Michigan, due to a severe case of frostbitten feet that developed when the bus broke down en route to Appleton, Wisconsin during the overnight trip following the January 31, 1959, show in Duluth, Minnesota. As Holly's group had been the backing band for all of the acts, Holly, Valens and Dion DiMucci (of Dion and the Belmonts) took turns playing drums for each other at the Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Clear Lake, Iowa, shows.

The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, was never intended to be a stop on the tour, but promoters, hoping to fill an open date, called Surf Ballroom manager Carroll Anderson and offered him the show. He accepted and the show was set for Monday, February 2.

By the time Buddy Holly arrived at the Surf Ballroom that Monday evening, he was frustrated with the tour bus. According to VH-1's Behind the Music episode, "The Day the Music Died", Holly was also upset that the laundromat in Clear Lake was closed that day, and he would need time before the next performance to finally clean some undershirts, socks, and underwear.

Holly told his remaining band mates, Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup, that they should try to charter a plane to save time and to avoid the cold bus ride of 380 miles (610 km) to the tour's next stop, Moorhead, Minnesota.

Flight arrangements were made with Roger Peterson, a 21-year-old local pilot who worked for Dwyer Flying Service in Mason City, Iowa. A fee of $36 per passenger was charged for the single-engined 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza 35 (V-tail), registration N3794N (later reassigned). The Bonanza could seat three in addition to the pilot.

Richardson had developed a case of flu during the tour and asked Waylon Jennings for his seat on the plane. When Holly learned that Jennings wasn't going to fly, he said in jest, "Well, I hope your old' bus freezes up" and Jennings responded, also in jest, "Well, I hope your old' plane crashes". This exchange of words would haunt Jennings for the rest of his life.

Ritchie Valens had never flown in a small plane before, and, in spite of his own fear of flying, asked Tommy Allsup for his seat on the plane. Tommy said "I'll flip ya for the remaining seat". Contrary to what is seen in La Bamba, the coin toss did not happen at the airport shortly before takeoff, nor did Buddy Holly toss it. Bob Hale, a DJ with KRIB-AM, was working the concert that night and flipped the coin in the ballroom's sidestage room shortly before the musicians departed for the airport. Valens won the coin toss, and with it a seat on the flight.

Dion had been approached to join the flight, although it is unclear exactly when he was asked. Dion decided that, since the $36 cost of the flight was the same as the monthly rent his parents paid for his childhood apartment, he couldn't justify the indulgence.

The plane departed from the ramp and taxied to then-Runway 17 at around 12:55 AM Central Time on Tuesday, February 3. Contrary to popular belief, there was no blizzard at the time but a very light snowfall with winds out of the south at 20 knots, gusting to 30 knots and a cloud ceiling of 3,000 feet above the ground. The ceiling had dropped by 2,000ft in the previous hour. Though there were indications of deteriorating weather along the route, the weather briefings that Peterson received failed to relay the information.

Hubert Dwyer, owner of the plane and the flight service company, watched from a platform outside the tower and "saw the tail light of the aircraft gradually descend until out of sight", just after 1:00 AM. Peterson had earlier told Dwyer he would file a flight plan with Air Traffic Control by radio after takeoff. When Peterson did not call the tower personnel with his flight plan, Dwyer requested that they continue to attempt to establish radio contact, but all attempts were unsuccessful. By 3:30 AM, when Hector Airport in Fargo, North Dakota, had not heard from Peterson, Dwyer contacted authorities and reported the aircraft missing.

Around 9:15 AM, Dwyer took off in his own Cessna 180 to fly Peterson's intended route. Within minutes he spotted the wreckage less than 6 miles (9.7 km) northwest of the airport, in a cornfield then belonging to Albert Juhl. The Bonanza was at a slight downward angle and banked heavily to the right when it struck the ground at around 170 miles per hour (270 km/h). The plane tumbled and skidded another 570 feet (170 m) across the frozen landscape before the crumpled wreckage came to rest against a wire fence at the edge of Juhl's property.

The bodies of Holly and Valens lay near the plane, Richardson was thrown over the fence and into the cornfield of Juhl's neighbor Oscar Moffett, and Peterson's body remained entangled inside the plane's wreckage. With the other participants on "The Winter Dance Party" enroute to Moorhead, it fell to Surf Ballroom manager Carroll Anderson, who drove the musicians to the airport and witnessed the plane's takeoff, to make positive identifications of the musicians. All four had died instantly from "gross trauma" to the brain, the county coroner Ralph Smiley declared.

Investigators concluded that the crash was due to a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error, resulting in spatial disorientation. Peterson, working on his instrument rating at the time, was still taking flight instrumentation tests and was not yet certified for flight into weather that would have required operation of the aircraft solely by reference to his instruments rather than by means of his own vision. The final Civil Aeronautics Board report noted that Peterson had taken his instrument training on airplanes equipped with an artificial horizon attitude indicator and not the far-less-common Sperry Attitude Gyro the Bonanza was equipped with (it was further discovered that Peterson had failed his instrument checkride shortly before the incident). Critically, the two instruments display aircraft pitch attitude but depict such information in a visual manner opposite of one another; therefore, the board considered that this could have caused Peterson to think he was ascending when he was, in fact, descending. They also concluded that Peterson was not given adequate warnings about the weather conditions of his route, which, given his known limitations, might have caused him to postpone the flight out of prudence.

In 2007, Richardson's son had his father's body exhumed and an autopsy performed to verify the original finding. In part this was done because of the long known discovery of Holly's 22 caliber pistol by Juhl in the cornfield two months after the wreck, giving rise to the question of whether or not an accidental firearm discharge had caused the crash, and whether or not Richardson was not hurt as badly and able to try to crawl for help, because his body was found farther from the crash site. William M. Bass undertook the procedure and confirmed Smiley's original report. The body of Richardson was well-preserved, but showed "massive fractures", showing that he, too, had died on impact.

In 1988, Ken Paquette, a Wisconsin fan of the 1950s era, erected a stainless steel monument depicting a steel guitar and a set of three records bearing the names of each of the three performers. The monument is located on private farmland, about one quarter of a mile west of the intersection of 315th Street and Gull Avenue, five miles (8 km) north of Clear Lake. A large plasma-cut-steel set of Wayfarer-style glasses, similar to those which Holly was known for wearing, sits at the access point to the crash site. Paquette also created a similar stainless steel monument to the three musicians located outside the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Holly, the Big Bopper and Valens played on the night of February 1, 1959. This second memorial was unveiled on July 17, 2003. In February 2009, a new memorial made by Paquette for pilot Roger Peterson was unveiled at the crash site. A road originating near The Surf Ballroom and extending north past the west of the crash site is now known as Buddy Holly Place.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR VERNON TAYLOR
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

SUN SESSION: FEBRUARY 4, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

01 - SWEET AND EASY TO LOVE''
Composer: - Roy Orbison
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - February 4, 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Vernon Taylore - Vocal
Unknown Musicians

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

FEBRUARY 4, 1959 WEDNESDAY

Webb Pierce recorded the Mel Tillis-penned ''A Thousand Miles Ago''.

FEBRUARY 5, 1959 THURSDAY

Jim Reeves recorded the Roger Miller-written ''Home'' during an evening session at Nashville's RCA Studio B.

FEBRUARY 6, 1959 FRIDAY

Stonewall Jackson recorded ''Waterloo''.

FEBRUARY 7, 1959 SATURDAY

Four days after the infamous plane crash, funeral services are held for Buddy Holly in Lubbock Texas. Pallbearers include Sonny Curtis and Bob Montgomery. Phil Everly sits with Holly's parents.

The day of Buddy Holly's funeral, band-including Waylon Jennings, is forced to stay on the road, playing the Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines.

FEBRUARY 8, 1959 SUNDAY

Johnny Cash appears on CBS-TV's ''The Ed Sullivan Show'' performing ''Don't Take Your Guns To Town''.

Nat Kelly Cole, the adopted son of Nat ''King'' Cole, is born. His father earned a pair of country hits 15 years prior.

FEBRUARY 9, 1959 MONDAY

Mercury released George Jones' ''White Lightning''.

FEBRUARY 10, 1959 TUESDAY

Faron Young recorded ''That's The Way It's Gotta Be'' at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee.

FEBRUARY 11, 1959 WEDNESDAY

The Gary Cooper movie ''The Hanging Tree'' debuts in New York City, featuring Marty Robbins performing the title track.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Towards the end of the life of 706 Union as a recording studio, several members of the house band saw sessions logged under their own name. Roland Janes recorded a guitar figure known as ''Rolando'' featuring his own prowess with the axe as well as sigficant piano and sax solos from Jimmy Wilson and Martin Willis. Janes brought in singer Eddie Cash on ''Little Bitty Pretty Girl'' and ''Hey Good Lookin'', but these vocal sides were also designed to show off the band to maximum effect. After a long career in the music business around Memphis, Roland Janes later returned to the Phillips fold and still works at the Phillips Recording Studio to his death in 2013. bIt is clear which month the Janes sides were made, February, but the year is uncertain. 1958 is possible, but 1959 is more likely, not least because saxophonist Martin Willis and drummer Jimmy Van Eaton both led sessions that the same month in 1959.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROLAND JANES & EDDIE CASH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 6-11, 1959 WEDNESDAY
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - ROLAND JANES

In addition to playing lead guitar on the early Jerry Lee Lewis records, Roland Janes had a great deal more to offer in that he could write, engineer and produce as well. Born in 1933 in Brookings, Arkansas, Roland came to Sun early in 1956 where he got his chance to shine some three years later. None of the sides cut at this session were commissioned, yet "Rolando" certainly impresses - despite its conspicuous melodic parallel with Buddy Holly's "Modern Don Juan".

01(1) - "ROLANDO 1''- B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Roland Janes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15340-3 mono
ROLAND JANES - GUITARVILLE
Reissued: - 1997 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8302-14 mono
706 UNION INSTRUMENTALS

01(2) - "ROLANDO 2'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Roland Janes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15340-7 mono
ROLAND JANES - GUITARVILLE

02 - "UNCLE SAM ROCK" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Roland Janes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959
Released: - 1997
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8302-15 mono
706 UNION INSTRUMENTALS

03 - ''PATRIOTIC GUITAR'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Roland Janes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family (LP) 33rpm BFX 15340-2 mono
ROLAND JANES - GUITARVILLE

04 - ''GUITARVILLE' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Roland Janes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family (LP) 33rpm BFX 15340-1 mono
ROLAND JANES - GUITARVILLE

05 - ''LITTLE BITTY PRETTY GIRL/STUDIO TALK''* - B.M.I. - 1:36
Composer: - Roland Janes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959 – Vocal Eddie Cash
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-12-12 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - RAUNCHY
Reissued: - 2000 SAAR Records (CD) 500/200rpm SAAR 41008-13 mono
THE BEST OF SUN ROCK AND ROLL - VOLUM 2

06 - ''ROLAND'S GROOVE (BLUES)'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Roland Janes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959
Released: - 1990
First appearance: Bear Family Records (LP) BFX 15340-4 mono
ROLAND JANES - GUITARVILLE

07(1) - ''HEY GOOD LOOKING/STUDIO TALKING''* – B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Hank Williams
Publisher: - Acuff Rose Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959 - Vocal Eddie Cash
Released: - 1986
First appearance: Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1037-12 mono
AFTER THE HOP
Reissued: - November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-12-13 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - RAUNCHY
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-8-26 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

Eddie Cash was born in Memphis in 1941, which put him squarely in the right place at the right time. He did indeed cross paths, both in and out of the studio, with many famous musicians of the era, including Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Indeed, Cash claimed to have appeared with Scotty and Bill when Elvis was off making movies in Hollywood.

On this February 11, 1959 session (identified on the tape box with Roland Janes' name) features multiple takes of two songs by Eddie Cash. Confusion surrounds this tape. Was Cash performing with the Janes band, offering several vocals, or did his performances date from an earlier session and find their way on to the same 7-inch tape reel for storage? We may never know. It is clear, however, that Cash's versions of ''Hey Good Lookin'' offers the late 1950s Sun sound, which will be familiar to Sun fans. Cash turns in a vintage Elvis-sound-alike vocal, complete with hiccups and uh-huh-huh's just where you'd expect to find them. But it's the Sun house band that really shines here, driven by Jimmy M. Van Eaton's propulsive drumming and Martin Willis' staccato yet melodic sax work. cash did not have particularly positive memories of the results of the session and none of its product was originally released, although most tracks have since found their way onto Sun archaeology compilations, often mis-credited to Roland Janes.

07(2) - ''HEY GOOD LOOKING''* – B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Hank Williams
Publisher: - Acuff Rose Music
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959 - Vocal Eddie Cash
Released: - 2019
First appearance: Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17504-14 mono
SUN SHINES ON HANK WILLIAMS

08- ''DOIN' ALRIGHT''* – B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Eddie Cash
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Probably Recorded: - February 6-11, 1959 - Vocal Eddie Cash
Released: - February 1, 2011
First appearance: - Master Classics Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
50S ROCKABILLY PIONEERS - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Roland Janes - Guitar
Eddie Cash - Vocal*
Billy Riley - Guitar
Probably Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Pat O'Neill - Bass
Billy Weir or
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Martin Willis - Tenor Saxophone

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STORY ABOUT THE AMERICA'S MUSICAL STORYTELLER - For years the artist behind the name Eddie Cash was a question mark. Interviewer Bo Berglind had heard he'd played in Las Vegas but he could not locate him, and it was not until 1991 when his buddy Erik and he visited Memphis they saw him name on a sign. He played at one of those cheap hotels close to the airport, there tried to get hold of him but had not the time stay and look further. Next rumors said that Klaus Kettner of Hydra had been in touch with him so there asked Klaus, but still no luck.

It wasn't until Tony Wilkinson caught his act in Branson, Missouri in 1995 and Bergling asked him if he had any interest to have his story told. Berglind contacted Eddie and he agreed to the article. This is what came out of there correspondence.

EDDIE CASH - Edward Allen Cash was born on February 28, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was the only child to Virginia and James Cash (no relation to Johnny). His father worked at Firestone Tire & Rubber and was a foreman in the machine shop, he was also a machinist and a tool and tire man. Eddie's mother was a house wife and he commented, ''My mom had a fulltime job raising an idiot like me''.

In school Eddie's biggest interest was history. He didn't caught a really interest for music until the cool cat music came along. He thought that there would be a place for him also. Asked him what his main music influences had been before Elvis entered the scene and after, Eddie says: ''Well, to be quite honest with you I was very much affected by as far as my heart concerns with blues. I've always been a great fan of blues. I got into rockabilly or rock and roll as you now call it at a very early age. I began in the business in 1956 and this is my 40th year. My biggest rockabilly influence was probably Carl Perkins. I think the first song I ever sang first at a contest which I entered at the Casino at the Fairground which here in Memphis and incidentally won was a song called "Matchbox". I'm a big B.B. King fan, I love blues very much. I like all styles of music as far as answer your question. I grew up in a neighbourhood full of kids that wanted to be in the entertainment business. I don't know why but for some strange reason, when I was a kid growing up in Memphis we had a neighbourhood full of kids like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Isac Hayes, Al Green, The Staple Singers, Kay Starr, The Blackwood Brothers Quartet, Booker T & The MGs, The Willie Mitchell Band, Sam The Sham & The Pharroas, goodness me head goes blank.. Carl Perkins of course came down from Jackson and that's just 40-50 miles from Memphis. We had a neighbourhood full of these kids who just wanted to pick and sing and be like these big
stars''.

Eddie put his first band together in 1956 which was called "The Mad Caps". But, first of all Eddie wanted to be a drummer, but fait wanted different, Eddie recall, ''I was about fourteen. I began in the business wanting to be a drummer. I'm a frustrated drummer, I don't play very well, and I haven't played for a long time, but I love to play drums very much. In the first band I organized I was the drummer. The kid that was gonna sing was Virgil Henry, and Virgil got arrested for stealing hub caps and they told me I had to sing. The reason being that they had another drummer but they did not have another singer. So I had to sing and give up my drums or get out of the band, so I threw my drums away and began to sing and I've been singing for four decades now''.

Eddie managed to get bookings through Bob Neal without having a record released. He also got his first manager in Gary Peters, who was soon replaced by Bill Harris, Bill had played the bass for Harold Jenkins but when Harold left Memphis Bill quit his job, Eddie recall, ''Bob Neal was a dear friend and Bob booked some dates for me, but he was not my agent or manager. My first manager was a man who worked for Quickeroots Company and he was a bass player and manager for the original Conway Twitty band. When he left Conway he came with me and was my manager and as a matter if fact he was influential in getting me my first record contract with the American Recording and the Lansky Brothers at Peak. Bill was also instrumental in having me do my recordings with Fernwood and Scotty Moore''.

When Elvis Presley, in September 1956, travelled to Los Angeles to make his first movie "Love Me tender", Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D.J. Fontana was left behind in Memphis, they needed job to pay their bills, say Eddie. ''Scotty Moore and Bill Black was pretty much in the same bag as far as my interest was concern because we all worked together. My first professional job was singing with the original Presley band, this what happened; Clearpool was an old place located out on the highway. Presley had gone to do his first motion picture. Colonel Parker asked Bill Harris and my other friend, a radio announcer that acted as a part time manager, Ray Brown was his name. They wanted me to sing with the Presley band because they knew I knew all the Presley songs and all of his keys and tempos and they would not have to rehearse anybody. It was kinda sneaky but quite an experience. My band members were tickled to death that I were able to go on stage with some of the greatest musician around and they did not mind''.

Eddie struck a long relationship with Scotty and Bill and Bill even played bass with Eddie before he founded the Bill Black Combo, more about that later. On April 12 1957 did Eddie and his band participate in a talent contest called "The Mid-South Youth Talent Contest" at the Memphis Fairground which he won by performing "Matchbox". A few days before the contest Eddie had picked up his brand new red coat with the initials "EC" and a pair of pin striped pants. On the same day as the contest he received a good luck telegram from the Lansky Brothers Mens Shop. Eddie recall, ''I entered the contest because I had been watching a lot of them playing around Memphis and I thought I could do better than them, it was that simple''.

The Mad Caps only lasted a short time until he formed a new band called "Eddie Cash and Company" and after a while a third band came with "Eddie Cash and The Cashiers". Among the musicians around this time were Jackie Hartwell (guitar), Tommy Bennett (piano), Dennis Smith (drums) and Prentill McPhail (electric bass).

In 1989 in England Charly Records had two previously unreleased tracks by Eddie in their box "The Rocking Years". These were credited to Roland Janes and held on February 11, 1959. The two tracks released were "Hey Good Looking" and "Little Bitty Pretty Girl". Musicians were Roland Janes (guitar), Billy Riley (guitar), Pat O'Neill (upright bass), Martin Willis (tenor saxophone) and Billy Weir or Jimmy Van Eaton (drums). Eddie may well have the time wrong as he's sure he did the Sun session before the Peak recordings.

The Sun session and the peak session seem to be very close, talking about this 40 years, later Eddie might very well be mistaken. Eddie say, ''The first recording session I ever did was at the Sun Recording Studio. I still have fond memories of that. It was a terrible thing, they were really bad. We used all the Sun musicians, everybody that cut with Jerry Lee and all those guys, Bill Riley but it was terrible. My dad was a camera and recording nut and thanks to him I have a copy of every session I ever did. At about the same time I also did recordings for a television show at WHBQ. They had a disc jockey by the name of Dewey Phillips who they used to call "Daddy-O-Dewey", he first broke Elvis'' Eddie recalled.

Like all the other musicians in Memphis Eddie bought his stage suits at Lanskys and struck a friendship with them. A friendship that would lead to a recording contract. ''To be quite honest with you I knew the Lansky Brothers very well as I bought all my cloths there because Elvis did and so did everybody else that I grew up with. The Lanskys were pretty much the people who did all the clothing things around because they had black cloths on Beale Street, which is a black street in a black neighbourhood full of black people and the black influence and black music and the Lansky Brothers were selling loud cloths and that was very much the thing for a young teenagers in 1956 who wanted to be cool and nosy. The Lansky Brothers very much had the market and all of us went there. The Lanskys owned Peak and the American Recording which was a small studio they had build in the back of their warehouse where they kept all their cloths. Bill Harris knew about this and when he came along and asked if they wanted to record me they said yes. So they got together and I was probably one of the first artists ever signed to Peak and I would have a hit record with "Doin' All Right". It did hit in several markets and did very well. However Lansky Brothers fell on their knees because they didn't have too many distribution contacts. When people in the east, like in New York or New Jersey or up in Chicago began to want the record, 'cause I was pushing it hard, they couldn't follow up so the record died and fell of the charts. I'll never forget them for that, I think that was very bad''

The signing of the contract and the actual recording session happened with a seven-day period. Asking him if there were other unreleased songs and how many takes they used before it came out satisfactory, Eddie continues, ''Oh, my goodness, how many takes? To be quite honest I don't know, but it was a song that we got from Harold a little earlier and we reharsed it for maybe a couple of hours, I guess. We got it down pretty good and I did all of the arranging. I arranged pretty much everything until we got with Scotty Moore at Fernwood, and then he helped us a lot. But I did most of the Peak stuff because it was my band that played the music, they were not session musicians, they were my personal musicians and they played only with me. The arrangement was pretty much done before we even got into the studio and it went on real quick, probably not more than one or two takes. I wrote "Land Of Promises" myself along with my guitar player Gerald Hunsucker. I did all the producing and the Lansky Brothers were executive producers. They put the money in the bank and behind it. We did approach them, Bill and I went down and brought the band. They had heard me but not the band, so one day we got them into the little studio and played a few tunes and they were quite impressed and basically I had a contract the same day. Most everything I did went very very quick. I never had any problem standing around and waiting for anything to happen. All the people I grew up with in Memphis were in the business. I used to hang around the Sun Studio for probably a year just looking and watching everybody else making big records. So I knew how to act when it was my time'', recalled Eddie.

Eddie's first record "Doing All Right" b/w "Land Of Promises" was released in November 1958. The Memphis disc jockey George Klein had it as his "Pick Of The Week" on November 21 together with Johnny Cash' "It's Just About Time". Elvis held the number one spot with "One Night", Kimball Coburn , another Memphis singer, was on position eleven with "Please, Please" on Hi Records. On January 16 it was number eight on radio WTUP chart, and in February we could read in the Memphis Press-Scimitar where Robert Johnson wrote:

''When WLEE-Richmond presented its chart for September 21, 1959 they had Eddie on spot thirteen. Rod Bernard held the second position with "This Should Go On Forever", Tommy Dee had "Three Stars" at number 14 and Neil Sedaka was at number 15 with "I Got Ape". The month he appeared in the Stardom Magazine''.

In 1959 Eddie entered another talent contest sponsored by the daily newspaper "Memphis Press-Scimitar" and WREC-TV. This appearance opened more doors and Eddie appears several times on Wink Martindales TV-show "Talent Party" over WHBQ-TV. By this time Harold Jenkins had turned Conway Twitty and was a big star and had gone off to Hollywood to make a movie. His musicians was left behind and he was again asked to step in for the star and did several shows with them during the shooting of Twitty's first movie.

By this time Peak Records had released quite a few recordings and this article appeared some time during 1959.

During this time Eddie Cash hand Bill Black on bass and they appeared during weekends on local clubs and in the nearby states of Arkansas and Mississippi. Most of them time they had advanced booking on the same route during Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The following story it quite remarkable. ''I put a band together, Bill Black and Scotty Moore had just left Presley and were looking for jobs. Both Scotty and Bill worked with me several times on jobs and I had done some jobs with them so we knew each other and we worked together. Everybody in Memphis worked together at that time. All the Sun and Hi studio musicians and all those people at Stax. Everybody know everybody from bass player Duck Dunn and all the way down to Jimmy van Eaton. I was the youngest and the most inmature and probably the worst in town, but I was working and some of them not, Anyhow, I called up Bill and we put a little band together, he had a drummer called Jerry Arnold, who was to be the original drummer in the Bill Black Combo, they used to call him Satch. Satch Arnold and I had a saxophone player by the name of Martin Willis who was one of the finest musicians in town. He did a lot of stuff for Sun Records and was also with Conway for a time. The greatest guitar player I ever run across in my life is Reggie Young. Anyhow, we were working this "C&R Club" in Truman, Arkansas and another toilet called "The Silver Moon" in Newport, Arkansas. Those were jobs that we would work after school on Fridays and Saturdays.

''On this occasion I called Bill and said, ''Bill, get ready to go to the thing and I'll pick you up, and he said, 'We're not going. So what do you mean, you're not going? This is Wednesday we're opening at the Silver Moon Night Club in Newport, Arkansas and Friday we're making $15 dollars a piece and you ain't going.

Bill said, 'No, Joe Cuoghi from Hi Records called and he's gonna give us a recording session. I said, 'Well, you go ahead and do your recording session and I'll organize another band and I'm going my way. He said, 'Ok. So Bill went on and recorded "Smokie Part 1 & 2" and made his first million seller and I got $15 and went on singing at the Silver Moon Night Club in Newport, Arkansas. But that's a true Bill Black Story. It's a shame too that Bill's gone. He was a fine man a lot of fun and I miss Bill Black, he was a good friend.''.

In late 1959 or early 1960 Peak released his follow up single "Come On Home" b/w "Day After Day", which ad been recorded in 1959. Unfortunately this record died on the day of its release and Eddie Cash was very disappointed at the Lanskys for not pushing his records and he recorded a session at Fernwood Studio in Memphis.

''We recorded at the Fernwood Studio, downtown on the Main Street. Scotty gave me the story that Elvis was sorry to see them leave and bought Bill Black a house and Fernwood Records for Scotty. Bill Harris wrote one side called "Thinkin' Man" and he got the idea from a Marlboro slogan. Then I wrote the other side "Livin' Lovin' Temptation". On the session we used Jackie Hartwell (guitar), Gerald Hunsucker (rhythm guitar), Prentiss McPhail (electric bass), Tommy Bennett (piano), Dennis Smith (drums) and Martin Willis(tenor sax). We had female vocal group The DeLons, which also appeared on Thomas Wayne's recording of "Tragedy". But it got to the attention of Randy Wood through a friend of mine at radio WMPS here in Memphis, I think it was Ray Brown or it might have been Scotty Moore, I can't recall. Anyhow, they got to Randy and told him to sign me up. Randy heard the record but didn't want it on Dot so he placed it on Dot's subsidiary label called Todd and it did absolutely nothing'' recalled Eddie.

The record was released in March 1960 and Todd spent money on advertisement in Cash Box and it was also reviewed. There are also two different label designs, my copy is pressed in Los Angeles by Monarch. Eddie's next stop was Roulette Records, which came by coincidence where one single was released. ''How I got my Roulette contract was a sick thing. I had graduated from High School in 1959 and left Memphis. I left Bill Harris and everything behind me because my records didn't do what they were supposed to do. I wanted to go on the road as the record at this time made some noise in Chicago I went there to work. The record plays on the radio, people know your name and get jobs, it's that simple. In Chicago I organized another band as the musicians from Memphis wouldn't leave town. When I got to Chicago I got a trio together and we played all over the city. We had a couple of tunes that we were just playing and we went over to some guy's and for forty or fifty dollars we cut a two demos. It was a demo, a junkie demo, really a bad cheap demo in a garage with seven microphones. I had at the time signed a contract to work with Orchestras Incorporated at 332 South Michigan in the McCormick building. They saw me on the Jim Lounsbury Show, which was the Chicago version of American Bandstand, at the ABC Building right across from the Chicago Theatre. They asked me to do several TV spots here because "Doing All Right" was pretty big in that area. It got to the top ten in no time. While I was there and organizing the band and doing all these things I did this little Mickey Mouse thing. I sent the demo to my new agent Herb Grownauer, and asked him what do you think about this and Herbie knew somebody at Roulette and send it to them to see what they thought. Next thing I know Herbie says that we gotta sign a contract real quick, they are gonna release the thing. I said, 'Release what? and he said, 'Your demo. I said, 'Oh no, it's terrible. He said, 'No, they love it. So I signed a contract, they released it and it bell right on its butt'', Eddie said.

Eddie Cash died in Mukwanoga, Wisconsin on September 16, 2016, after a short battle with cancer. He was 75.

Eddie continued to make demos when opportunity occurred, when in Chicago he did recordings in a studio owned by RCA Victor. ''In the early 1960s I did a lot of sessions. We did one at RCA Studios in Chicago, I hired the studio and took my musicians in there and paid them for the session. I borrowed the money from my mother-in-law. I have never forgiven myself for not doing anything with them.

They were done with my trio and a band called The Warner Brothers, not the Warner Brothers Record Company, it was an act that I worked with in Chicago. They were about five musicians so we put the two bands together and I did all the arrangements and the stuff myself''

''I was with The Warner Brothers Band and worked with them at The Baritz with the Bucus Brothers at the Erwin Park and Sherdon Road in Chicago. These recordings are not be be confused with the one's I did in Nashville. But if you're into Nashville I got some recordings that I did with Fred Carter that has not been release''.

''I also did some great recordings in Nashville for a very dear friend of mine, Fred Carter, he's a guitar player and has his own studio before Uncle Sam closed him down. They closed him down and guttered him about three times. Fred knew me from Conway Twitty's band where I had played. He knew that I was capable of doing different styles of music and asked me to come to Nashville at three different times and do some dub work for him which I did and I still have those recordings from the early 1960s with all the Nashville musicians. I remember Floyd Cramer, Hank Garland and Bob Moore. They are gorgeous and that's probably the finest quality things I have recorded at the same time. Most of my recordings happened 1958-1964, right through that era, before I went to Vegas'', recalled Eddie.

When things had cooled down in Chicago Eddie was already working on a totally different thing. He was by this time tired of people who asked if he was Johnny Cash's brother. He had since 1960 spent six years on the road playing constantly on the east coast, the mid-west, Canada and Greenland. He had appeared together with, and played with the cream of the crop from the golden fifties. None of his recordings had been national hits at the very best they were local hits and he began to look for other things to put into his stage act. He began to do imitations. When in Los Angeles in 1966 he became friendly with an agent from Studio City who liked Eddie's show and offered him a 10 days at a hotel in Las Vegas. He was very uncertain about this, he had shows lined up and they had to be cancelled, the musicians he used would have to be left with full pay to be sure to have after the Vegas show. But the possibility was that he could be a hit.

Eddie says, ''In about 1966 when I got to Vegas I noticed there's a couple of things going on that I wasn't aware of. When I got to Las Vegas the place had about fifty-eight major lounges and fifty-nine major casinos downtown and on the strip in each one of these. I guess you can call them cabaret or showbar and each of them had an eighteen hour shift with four or sometimes five different acts working back-to-back. We were doing three or four shows a piece with an hour in between so the other guys can do it and that went on seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year for almost eighteen or nineteen years. If you didn't think of something unique or something good the other acts would get your people and you'd be fired if you didn't draw people. I'm proud to say that when I went to Vegas I had a ten day contract with the Mint Hotel in downtown Las Vegas with Del Webb, that 10 days contract turned into some eighteen years. So what I have written in the stories I done on the stage and this is exactly what you people would enjoy listening to. All this stuff that I'm telling you now I do on my show on the stage and sing the music at the same time. I do not understand why somebody would not be interested in sitting down and listen to this put to music. Your letter proves that I am right and this is my act today singing those songs of all those people that I have worked with and telling those stories. I don't believe that somebody is interested is seeing some idiot at 55 years old sit on the stage and sing "Doing All Right" that is absolutely stupid. What do you think of that? I'm getting strong I guess, pardon, my ages are beginning to show or is it years of frustration''.

Before Eddie Cash went to Las Vegas in 1966 he did a show in Memphis at the end of July at Little Abner's Rebel Room. The show was reviewed by Bill E. Burk for the Memphis Press- Scimitar on July 28, 1966 .

Eddie did his last Vegas show in 1984 and returned to Memphis. He had been acquainted with Siegfried & Roy who had all their music programmed on a computer and did not need a forty-piece orchestra, they just pushed a button. This was something Eddie knew was coming and he came home to began working on this. But most of all his parents were ill and in bad shape and Eddie felt he needed to be home and take care of them. In Memphis he also opened a dinner theatre and worked there for five years.

''We didn't start the computer thing until 1990. We moved to Cicero, Missouri, just a few miles down the road from Branson, Missouri in the 1992. We've been here at The Olympic Theatre on 6134 Cermak Road for three years and are still doing fine. We're doing five shows a week and we'll stay here a few more years until we move on'', says Eddie.

By the end of the nineties Eddie was back in Memphis. When doing these interviews and the talks we had over several phone calls over the duck pond I found him a to be a very nice man. But, also very bitter and suspicious over that he was not gonna get paid properly. He wanted to come to Europe, but at the same time afraid he's not gonna be paid. He told me that, ''I have done tons of recordings, I have boxes and boxes and boxes of Eddie Cash singing stuff that nobody wanted to buy and that makes me bitter 'cause some of it was in fact very good''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JAMES M. VAN EATON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY SAME SESSION ON WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 11, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

The ubiquitous Sun drummer is given the credits on a driving version of "Bo Diddley" which was recorded towards the end of the 1950s. The sensational drumming man, beats up a storm normally guitar-led tune, titled on the tape box ''Hey, Bo Diddley''. The beat is actually closer to ''Bo Diddle'', and no doubt some kind of tribute to Bo was intended, though Martin Willis's sax lines are closer to ''Willie And The Hand Jive''. Drummer Van Eaton always had a loose and unorthodox approach which today, in the age of drum machines, sounds very out of place and very refreshing.

01(1) - "BO DIDDLEY" - B.M.I. - 0:29
Composer: - Ellis McDaniel
Publisher:- Arc Music
Matrix number: - None - Chatter, False Start - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably February 11, 1959
Released: - May 29, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-8-27 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

01(2) - "BO DIDDLEY" - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Ellis McDaniel
Publisher:- Arc Music
Matrix number: - 45-107
Recorded: - Probably February 11, 1959
Released: - 1960
First appearance: - Nita Records (S) 45rpm Nita 127-A mono
BO DIDDLE / MIDNITE BLUES
Reissued: - 1997 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8302-1 mono
706 UNION INSTRUMENTALS

02 - "MIDNITE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - James M. Van Eaton
Publisher:- Beaik Music
Matrix number: - 45-106
Recorded: - Probably February 11, 1959
Released: - 1960
First appearance: - Nita Records (S) 45rpm Nita 127-B mono
MIDNITE BLUES / BO DIDDLE

03 - "FROGGY" - B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Janes-Jimmy M. van Eaton
Publisher: - Vaugh Music Publishers
Matrix number: - 45-R-104
Recorded: - Probably February 11, 1959
Released: - 1960
First appearance: - Rita Records (S) 45rpm Rita 1004-A mono
FROGGY / BEAT-NIK
Reissued: - 1988 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15272-12 mono
BILLY RILEY AND THE LITTLE GREEN MEN

04 - "BEAT-NIK" - B.M.I. - 1:45
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Janes-Jimmy M. van Eaton
Publisher: - Vaugh Music Publishers
Matrix number: - 45-R-103
Recorded: - Probably February 11, 1959
Released: - 1960
First appearance: - Rita Records (S) 45rpm Rita 1004-B mono
BEAT-NIK / FROGGY
Reissued: - 1988 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15272-11 mono
BILLY RILEY AND THE LITTLE GREEN MEN

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Guitar
Pat O'Neill - Bass
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Martin Willis - Saxophone

For Biography of James M. Van Eaton see: > The Sun Biographies <
James M. Van Eaton's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JAMES M. VAN EATON IN HIS OWN WORDS - ''You get in the 7th grade and you can either play in the band or go sing in the chorus. I had a choice of that, so I tried to get in the band, but it wasn't until probably the 9th grade that I started playing drums. Then I was able to take the marching band and I really started to feel some changes coming on as far as the type of music I like to play as compared to what was going on at the time. Believe it or not, I liked dixieland music a lot. There was a lot of country music in my home and I likes country music, but I guess I liked dixieland because the drummer always had a pretty good part''.

''I used to listen to this group, the Dukes of Dixieland. I guess the reason I liked it was they had a pretty heavy backbeat in dixieland music. You go back and listen to the really dixieland and it's a whole lot like what we're doing. And then the Big Band era - Buddy Rich, I always thought, was one of the best drummers there ever was. I mean, that guy can do more with drums than anybody else I've ever heard. I never was on e to really listen to other people. I played my way of playing. It either worked or it didn't''.

''You could get a little group together and go down to Sun and cut a record. You'd give them 15 bucks and you'd do two sides. That's what we did. There were a couple of guys in school who were pretty good musicians and we'd been playing this dixieland thing. I was still awfully young and we started playing some of the nightclubs around Memphis. We had a pretty good little group and we decided to go down and cut a record. In essence, we were auditioning. I didn't realize it at the time. There was a bass player named Marvin Pepper and myself, and Jack Clement asked us if we'd be interested in playing on some sessions. Of course, I said yeah. He invited me to come back and he introduced me to some other people, Billy Riley. And it just kind of started from there really. One thing led to another and it didn't take long before everybody wanted you to come and play for them''.

''I was in the eleventh grade or senior year of high school when I really started to get into the recording and of music and started playing with some of the bigger names. I really didn't realize how big it was. I thought it was just a local thing, Memphis musicians. I never dreamed that it was a worldwide thing, but there were a lot of good little groups around. I didn't even have a car. Jack Clement, who was the engineer at Sun, used to have to come and pick me up and take me to the session. It was a couple of years later before I ever bought my first car when I was 18 and I'd been playing a couple of years before that''.

''A guy named Johnny Bernero was playing drums at Sun at that time and Johnny was more into the country type stuff they were doing at Sun. Sun really hadn't gotten off into rock and roll. Even Elvis, his first records didn't have a drummer. I was the first drummer that ever played with Johnny Cash. I didn't go on the road with him, but I played on his sessions. It was the first time they ever tried to put a drum with Johnny Cash''.

''My sound was a combination of a lot of things. It was a feel of Memphis bred musicians, like myself, a black church background. When I was a junior in high school, we used to go over to East Trigg Baptist Church on Sunday night just to hear the music. It was great. It had a feel like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin. And they were doing this in church and I was in awe of all this. We wouldn't miss it for the world. It was just an every Sunday night thing, but that was before the racial turmoil came into effect. It's a shame because there was a real good rapport at that time. We were welcome. They brought us up front. We sat on the front left-hand side of the church every Sunday night and I'm sure that there are still some people in that congregation who remember that because it was great, 50, 60 or 100 people over there. And then you take that and incorporate it with country music that a lot of us were brought up on''.

''At Sun they had one microphone and it was over the snare. They tried to use maybe two, maybe one for the bass drum, but they would always bring the bass and the drum in on the same mic. But the majority of the time they had only one mic and it was over the snare. You take your billfold and lay it on the head of the snare. I had Gretch drums. That was the best sounding set for what we were doing. All I has was a snare, bass drum, a ride cymbal, and a hi-hat. That was it. I had tom toms that I used out in public, but they never could record them. Boy, it threw the needle all the way over. The engineer would go crazy. A few songs we did have some tom-tom stuff on them, but it was very few''.

''I went on the road with different groups. I played with Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty, Billy Riley. We didn't travel that much. I didn't get on the West Coast, but we worked from Canada to Florida, on down the East Coast. I really thought Riley was going to be a big star. That was one of the best bands I've ever played with. They had some musicians in that band that were as good as anybody in the country at that time. The only thing that kept Riley back was that he never had a big hit record. I think what it really boiled down to was they didn't want us to have a hit record because they would lose their staff band''.

''Sam Phillips knew what he wanted and the records he released were the records he obviously liked more than others. He gave you the freedom to do what you wanted to do. Jack Clement had a lot to do with it, too. Jack was doing most of the engineering and Sam was just there. He'd come in later and listen to what was done. He'd make suggestions, 'Let's do it over' or ''That sounds great'. Jack would make suggestions because he was more a musician than Sam. See, Sam, to my knowledge, is not a musician. He's a radio man and he knows sound, but he's not a musician. Now Jack, on the other hand, could come out and say, 'We need to do this' or 'Let's change this chord progression - it doesn't sound right' or 'do this rhythm pattern here'. But most of the time they were kind of excited as to what you might come up with. If you hit on a chemistry that worked then that was it. 'Hey, that sounds good! Let's cut it'. And it was that simple. I was pretty young and didn't realize that there was that much conflict going on between (Sam, Jack, and Bill Justis). It's a shame that they couldn't have all stayed because it was definitely something that was catching on worldwide. Now I look back on it, it was probably some of the happier times of my life''.

''One thing that made a big difference in that studio, Sam never rented it out like a lot of people would do for different artists to come in. If you weren't one of his artists, you didn't record there. And that made the difference. It was a personal touch type thing. You were his artist and he was going to try to do for you the best he could do, give you that sound, that Sun sound. You can go to Nashville. You can rent different studios and cut demos and cut whatever if you've got the bread. Right now you can go down there (to Sam Phillips Recording Service currently located on Madison Avenue) but back then you couldn't do that''.

''I'd never seen Jerry Lee before we cut his first record. I'd just met him that morning. He lived in a different part of the country. We didn't work on that style. ''Whole Lotta Shakin''' was just an old song of Jerry's. We did it at a club we were playing at. He was on the road and ''Crazy Arms'' was doing pretty good. So we were out doing some dates on that. And, of course, we didn't have a long list of songs. His repertoire was pretty short. So he said, 'I used to do this one when I was playing in the club and people went crazy over it'. It was the first time I'd ever hear it. At that time you played these 9 to 1 gigs and we probably did that song 4 or 5 times that night. People kept coming up saying, 'Play that 'Shakin' song'. So the next time we were in the studio we did it''.

''I think that shuffle beat I use came from the big bands. We were rehearsing with a group one night and I said I wonder if we could get this rhythm pattern going (standard swing shuffle) with a back beat and see what we could come up with. That's where it came from. When Jerry Lee came in, that's the rhythm he played. A lot of people try to copy Jerry Lee's sound, but they'll never copy it because they're trying to play a straight 4/4 and it's in fact a shuffle with backbeat. And that's the whole rhythm. I went out with Jerry recently (1986). We did three nights. And the rhythm was still there. It's a shuffle beat, but it's not the country shuffle''.

''I didn't realize that it was that much of an influence really. At that point in time you didn't realize you had a style. I didn't realize we were setting trends to be followed. I was just playing. I wasn't trying to perfect what I was doing because I didn't know that it needed perfecting. I was just playing it because that's what came natural to me''.

Article in the ''Modern Drummer'' by Bowman/Johnson 1986

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR MARTIN WILLIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY SAME SESSION ON WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 11, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

Martin Willis was of course one of Billy Riley's Little Green Men, as well as appearing on a variety of sessions. His rendition of Hank Garland's "Sugar Foot Rag" is backed by most of the other Little Green Men, although the precise personnel is not known, and nor is the date. Like Ace Cannon, Martin Willis also recorded on Hi Records in Memphis, and played with The Bill Black Combo, replacing Cannon when he scored with "Tuff".

"SUGARFOOT RAG" - B.M.I. - 0:17
Composer: - Hank Garland-Vaugh Horton
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Chatter - False Start - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably February 11, 1959
Released: - May 29, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-8-26 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

01 - "SUGARFOOT RAG" - B.M.I. - 1:49
Composer: - Hank Garland-Vaugh Horton
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably February 11, 1959
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: – Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-12-14 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - RAUNCHY
Reissued: - 1997 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8302-13 mono
706 UNION INSTRUMENTALS

"Sugar-Foot Rag" (or Sugarfoot Rag) is a song written by Hank Garland and Vaughn Horton (given on Red Foley's record label as George Vaughn). It was originally recorded by Garland and released in 1949, selling over a million records. It was then recorded by American country music artist Red Foley in 1950. It was also recorded by American country music artist Jerry Reed and released in November 1979 as the lead single from his album, ''Texas Bound And Flyin''. The song reached a peak of number 12 on the United States Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and number 13 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart. Junior Brown covered ''Sugarfoot Rag'' on his 1993 album ''Guit With It''.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Guitar
Billy Weir or Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jimmy Wilson - Piano

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

MY MUSICAL SOJOURN
by Martin Willis 2012

Although my professional musical career only lasted from 1956 to 1966, I was fortunate to have been associated with ground-breaking artists and musicians who wrote the book regarding how we ''hungry'' musicians were instrumental in laying the foundation for the rock and roll show and recording industry.

It was my privilege to have worked with very talented performers and “side men” while the historical musical saga unfolded that became the phenomenon that it is today the era of the super stars.

My entry into the musical world began in 1949 as a fifth grade school youngster at Hollywood Jr. High in Memphis, Tennessee, when a saxophone player named John Henry Cannon (later known as Ace Cannon) came into my fifth grade class with a snare drummer and cymbal player and played the Dark Town Strutters Ball for the class.

I said right then that I wanted to be able to do that. This desire was further reinforced upon hearing and seeing musical artists such as the Dorseys, Harry James, Artie Shaw and others in movies and listening to Dixieland jazz on Sunday nights broadcasted live on the radio from the Blue Room in New Orleans.

My dad was musically inclined and played the steel guitar and harmonica. He borrowed a tenor-saxophone from one of his friends so that I could see if I could play it. At school, we formed a band of eight grade school buddies that we named ''The Jivin' Five'' and since there wasn’t a trombone player who could play well enough in our school, my mom bought me a used one so I could play with the band. In the meantime, I played all the instruments available in school such as the flute, trumpet and sousaphone and my mom-bought me a clarinet and the squawking and squeaking practicing in the laundry room began (later I used it on Bill Black’s Smoky Part 1). This little band played at bank openings, movie theaters and talent shows (they even black-faced for one show in Mississippi, of all places).

In 1953, I entered high school at Memphis Tech and my dad gave me a Silvertone guitar to learn to play (this paid off later when I would work with guitarists in arranging various music for the groups). From 1955 – 1956 I played in area night clubs (in those days they didn’t question your age if you were in the band) and my mom made the down payment for me for an alto sax and I was ready to venture into the professional arena. I labored with the instruction books and in the school bands (concert, football and marching)and placed 1 st chair in the Tennessee Allstate Band. In 1956 JM Van Eaton and I played in a talent show at Memphis Tech High School and a musical association that lasted more than 50 years began.

1956 proved to be a pivotal period in my musical career when playing in a local night club I was approached by Bill Harris, the manager of Harold Jenkins and the Rockhousers, to play with his rock and roll band. I was a student at Memphis State University and a big fan of Bill Haley and the Comets and their Rock Around The Clock recording so I went with the group. They would pick me up on Friday afternoon after school and we would spend the weekend playing dates.

Harold Jenkins later changed his name to Conway Twitty. It was with Conway that I got my first experience in the recording industry at the famous Sun Studio in Memphis followed by sessions in Nashville at the Owen Bradley Studio for Mercury Records. It became evident that I needed a tenor sax so I bought a used one and this gave me more flexibility to play in the guitar-keys, E, A and D. We toured the mid-south and went to Canada in 1957for a stint at the Flamingo Lounge in Hamilton, Ontario.

JM and I finished the engagement and left Conway to join Billy Lee Riley and the Little Green Men at the Brass Rail in London, Ontario after which the band returned to Memphis to work the clubs and recording at Sun Records.

This was a very active period that I experienced with the bands as we worked clubs, made recordings, played dances and even performed a 72hour marathon for publicity. Our recording work gave us great experience as we were the “studio band” that backed up many artists (and paid the bills). One of the most unusual “gigs” was when we were hired to promote Aunt Jemima corn meal mix for the Quaker Oats Company. We would play just about any job available including drive-in movie theater roof tops,Dairy Queens and college dances and I made a lot of studio recordings for artists including Bill Black (see Discography).

After the musical jobs became infrequent and our recording work dwindled,I went to Chicago in 1960 to play with the Eddie Cash show band and also with the fabulous Blue Jays which was a fun job and allowed me to record at RCA backing Louise Brown. While working the show bars, I received a call from Bill Black inviting me to join his group to record and travel. This call got me our of the cold snowy Chicago and took me to Miami to play the Juke Box Operators convention where the group received the Most Played Instrumental Group award for Smoky and White Silver Sands and started us on the road to multiple successes in personal appearances and recordings including performing Yogi and Smoke, Part II in the movie Teenage Millionaire.

The Combo recorded many singles and even a country and western album entitled Bill Black Combo Goes West featuring the steel guitar great, John Huey (that turned a few heads). Bill wanted to start his own label so he recorded my first solo single on clarinet entitled, It Is No Secret and Kook for his own label, Louis Records. We also recorded several instrumentals in his own studio, American Recording, on Chelsea avenue in Memphis where, as a youngster, I used to go with my mom to shop in the 5 &10 cent store that previously occupied that space.

I continued to record behind local artists and then Bill Harris came up with the idea for me to wear a derby to promote my next single, Cattawampus/San Antonio Rock , produced by Billy Lee Riley and Roland Janes for their record label, Rita Records. The derby became my trademark but a hit record wasn’t in the cards for me so I continued my club performances at the Nite Liter Club first, with the Johnny Bernero Band and then I formed my own group, The Marty Willis Combo consisting of a group of Memphis State students that were top musicians.

We were the most popular band in Memphis and had a very successful tenure but the club was sold so we moved on to the classy Top of the100 Club performing our dance music and comedy routines to very pleased crowds. One night, Kemmons Wilson, the founder of the Holiday Inn chain, came by and invited me to come and talk with him about his personal club, Club LaRonde, a revolving private restaurant and lounge atop the Mid City Building.

As things progressed, I not only received managerial training and experience but also got to sit in with the band, a trio named the Holiday Trio that was bolstered with a trumpet and trombone on weekends. From there I went to the famous Peabody Hotel as Catering Manager and then was promoted to my first hotel general manager position at the new Sheraton Motor Inn in Tallahassee, FL and the hospitality business gained a former musician as a manager. The rest of the story is another story of totally different career.

As a postscript, in 2006, I was invited to come out of retirement and perform at the Memphis in May concert in Memphis with Billy Lee Riley and the Little Green Men and my old high schoolfriend, JM Van Eaton, along with Little Richard, James Brown and Chicago. That was a hoot! Pictures of that gig along with others appear in the Photo Gallery. Finally, in 2008, the Memphis Federation of Musicians, Local #71, nominated me for the American Federation of Musicians’ Hall of Fame, a fitting consummation to My Musical Sojourn.

FEBRUARY 1959

Sun Records had been minus a sales manager since Jud Phillips's departure in August 1958, and Sam Phillips didn't seem to be in a hurry to find a new one. But he surprise on early one February morning with a call asking Barbara Barnes to come into the office. He said he'd hired a man by the name of Cecil Scaife to take the job of national sales manager end they needed Barbara to provide Cecil with some information before he took off on his first round of calls to Sun's distributors and radio stations. Cecil came to Sun from Hi Records, a small Memphis label, but he'd worked before that in radio in Helena, Arkansas, his hometown. With his new job, as with Hi, he commuted the sixty-five miles from home to the studio each day.

Helena was one of those Mississippi River towns that had long attracted wandering musicians. Located in the Arkansas Delta, it was important in blues history because Rich Miller (aka Sonny Boy Williamson II) had made a name for himself as a performer on KFFA Radio's King Biscuit show. It was said to be the first blues radio program. The legendary bluesman Robert Johnson spent some time in Helena too. More recently, it was the home of someone Cecil knew, Conway Twitty, who had cut some unreleased records for Sun under his real name of Harold Jenkins.

The purpose of Cecil's debut trip was to promote a new Jerry Lee Lewis single, ''Big Blon Baby'' and ''Lovin' Up A Storm''. He was facing an uphill battle promoting the disgraced Jerry Lee Lewis. Sam Phillips wanted him to hit the usual big cities on the East Coast, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Hartford, and then Cleveland, Buffalo, and Chicago. After that he might go to Pittsburgh, Detroit, Kansas City, and so on, or maybe Sam would call him back in. Cecil had advised Jerry Lee to get a crew cut and some Ivy League threads so as to cut a cleaner, sleeker figure, but so far Jerry Lee Remained Jerry Lee. Still, Cecil had to try to sell this record. Nevertheless, Jerry Lee's record didn't become a hit.

According to Barbara Barnes, ''Cecil Scaife seemed like a friendly guy, with nice blue eyes. The greatest impression he made to the female employees of Sun, that he was large, wide shoulders, large feet, large head, large lips. He was over six feet, and well built, but a little awkward, like a big dog in a little room. Someone said he had spent some time in Hollywood trying to get into the movies''. Cecil and Barbara Barnes spent most of that Saturday in her office as she typed up a list of contracts in all the major cities Cecil might visit and briefed him on all Barbara knew about them. She gave him the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the distributors, with the names of the managers and promotion people, and any information. She had about their methods of operation. Then she made a list of the radio stations in the major cities and the names and phone numbers of any disk jockeys she had been talking with on the phone or that Jud Phillips had cultivated. There were also some TV dance hosts in the list for Cecil to check out.

FEBRUARY 15, 1959 SUNDAY

The singles, "Sweet Sweet Girl" b/w ''Goodbye Mr. Love'' (Sun 314) by Warren Smith; "Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox" b/w ''Tell 'Em Off'' (Sun 315) by Onie Wheeler; ''Thanks A Lot'' b/w ''Luther Played The Boogie'' (Sun 316) by Johnny Cash all released.

"Big Blon' Baby" b/w ''Lovin' Up A Storm'' (Sun 317) by Jerry Lee Lewis is released and widely promoted by Sun, but the hits of 1957 are not to be repeated for Lewis.

During the sessions they had cut July 30, 1955, Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two had cut a novelty number that Sun all got a kick out of. Whether the public in general would appreciate it was it was another matter, but in February 1959 Sun put out ''Luther Played The Boogie''. It was another occasion to poke gentle fun at Cash's lead guitar player, and it had the real Cash sound. When they did the show on stage, the audiences liked it because Luther was even more deadpan than Cash and made a perfect straight man for the star. His appearance, which couldn't help remind one of a scarecrow, was endearingly humorous. When he let himself go, Johnny Cash could be very funny, and the three of them had some chemistry that worked. ''Luther Played The Boogie'' was a little surprised it made it to number 8 on the country charts. It never placed in pop.

This was one of the tunes included on the third LP Sun put out on Johnny cash. This one came out about the same time as the single and was called ''Greatest! Johnny Cash''. It was a more attractive package than the other two, but all three currently being offered sold steadily for a long time.

Norma Jean sign her first recording contract, with Columbia Records. The association lasts 18 months.

FEBRUARY 17, 1959 TUESDAY

The Wilburn Brothers recorded ''Somebody's Back In Town''.

FEBRUARY 20, 1959 FRIDAY

Tennessee Ernie Ford becomes the first country artist to receive a gold album from the Recording Industry Association of American, for his ''Hymns'' release.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Next time out, on February 21, 1959, Ray Smith was produced not by Sam Phillips or Jack Clement, but by saxophonist and bandleader Bill Justis, himself a big- selling recording artist with ''Raunchy'' on Sun's subsidiary label, Phillips International. Justis was keen on Sun moving away from the raw sound of the first wave rockabillies towards a classier, more produced, sound. As it turned out, the session took a turn for the good, and for the not so good.

The not so good song was called ''Rockin' Bandit'', written by Ira Jay Lichterman, a local teenager working in a leather factory, who later recorded on Sun himself, and brought to Bill Justis who sold Ray on it against his better judgement.

Justis was probably right to think that the lowest common denominator was a factor in making hit pop records, and Bandit certainly fit that bill. It was a novelty song, but rather a confused one, with a grating rather than endearing vocal chorus. Justis had persuaded Ray to leave his band at home, apart from Stanley Walker, and he used his tried and tested studio musicians on the session.

The good part of the February session was Charlie Rich's excellent loping ballad, ''Sail Away'', which Ray Smith sang as a duet with Stanley Walker. Ray told Dave Booth, years later: ''We did ''Sail Away'' with Stanley Walker singing tenor. Stanley was a short guy, so we took five stacks of records - in fact it was Bill Justis 's record of ''Raunchy'' - and stood Stanley up there on those so he could get even with me to sing in the mike''. Somewhere inbetween the good and the less good was a heartfelt vocal reading of a promising ballad called Ill Try that was never quite worked up to release standard.

''Rockin' Bandit'' and ''Sail Away'' were issued as Sun 319 on March 23, 1959. With the classic country ballad buried on the B-side and the gimmicky A-side not pulling in the coin, it was time for everyone to take stock of Ray Smith's Sun career during the summer of 1959.

Charlie Terrell was concerned that his protege was going nowhere, Jud Phillips was wondering how to unlock the potential, and the singer himself was beyond frustrated. Smith said in later years: "Sun had the best damned sound! It had the sound for that day and time. I knew that I could have done something big on that label with a little more help''. Sam Phillips once told: "Ray Smith was probably the most intense person ever recorded. He was totally wrapped up in what he was doing. Nobody wanted recognition more than Ray".

It seems that, less than two years down the line from their first meeting, Sam Phillips still wanted to keep Ray on Sun, but he was now focusing his personal attention on other things. Jack Clement and Bill Justis had left Sun in the spring of 1959 not long after the ''Rockin' Bandit'' session, and the prospects for Ray Smith to hit the big time with Sun were diminishing rapidly. Jud Phillips and Charlie Terrell both had other ideas. Charlie Terrell told: "Eventually both Jud Phillips and I became fed up with Ray not being able to get ahead at Sun. Jud and I talked and we decided to move him to a new label, and Jud put up the money for that. There had came a point where Jud was disgusted about how Jerry Lee Lewis's career had taken a dip and at the same time Sam was disgusted with Jud's style - Jud would give tips to people all the time, to get Ray onto the Steve Allen Show say. Sam would fuss at Jud all the time about his expense accounts. Sam knew that Jud had the ability to get people onto shows that he could never do himself, but he didn't like the cost of it. Jud would say, 'Sam, you get onto me all the time about expenses. but I've got to impress people if we want to get ahead in the business and promote an artist. We have to look successful to be successful''.

STUDIO SESSION FOR RAY SMITH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY FEBRUARY 21, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BILL JUSTIS

01(1) - "ROCKIN' BANDIT" - B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Ira Jay Lichterman
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Undubbed Master
Recorded: - February 21, 1959
Released: - 1985
First appearance: – Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1029-1 mono
SHAKE AROUND
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 32-4 mono
ROCKIN' WITH RAY

This side was supplied by a thirteen year old younster named Ivor Jay Lichterman* who worked in a leather factory in Memphis and had sent in a demo of the song on which he accompanied himself by slapping his thights. It was not a song that Ray was keen to do, but Bill Justis insisted and so they did it.

01(2) - "ROCKIN' BANDIT" - B.M.I. - 2:05
Composer: - Ira Jay Lichterman
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 354 - Master
Recorded: - February 21, 1959
Released: - March 23, 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single > Sun 319-B < mono
ROCKIN' BANDIT / SAIL AWAY
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-4-5 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Ray Smith confirmed what a powerful vocalist he was on both of his March 1959 release (SUN 319). Given the novelty value of "Rockin' Bandit", it is really surprising that the disc met with little success. The very same gunshot effects had appeared on the pop charts the previous year in the Olympics' record of Western Movies. Maybe teenagers were tired of being shot at. "Rockin' Bandit" was composed by a local teenager named Ira Lichterman, who emerged as a Sun artist in his own right in November, 1960.

02(1) - "SAIL AWAY" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Charlie Rich
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 21, 1959
Released: - 2009
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16936-29 mono
RAY SMITH - THE SUN YEARS PLUS
 
02(2) - "SAIL AWAY" - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Charlie Rich
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 355 - Master Take 2
Recorded: - February 21, 1959
Released: - March 23, 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single > Sun 319-A < mono
SAIL AWAY / ROCKIN' BANDIT
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-4-6 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3
 
At one session Charlie Rich was playing various compositions of his own for Ray to pick from. Ray wanted to do "Whirlwind", but Charlie Rich wouldn't let him have it stated that he wanted to do it himself. Instead Ray cut Charlie's "Sail Away". For a while it was thought that Charlie himself was harmonising with Ray Smith on this number, but in fact it is guitarist Stanley Walker. Ray clearly recalled having to hunt around for some books for Stanley to stand on so that he could reach the microphone! Walker stayed with Ray Smith for 13 years before going on to back Jean Shepherd.
 
"Sail Away" is a less gimmicky and highly effective outing for Smith. Here, the vocalist duets with his regular guitarist, Stanley Walker, in a Charlie Rich tune. Rich's influence can be heard in some powerful lyrical images ("I may find joy in some green valley / be a bum, live in an alley") as well as his omnipresent piano. No matter how you slice it, this is an anti love song. The feeling may be fairly universal, but the marketplace has rarely opened its arms to a lament saying "whatever it takes to get away from you, I'm all for it".
 
When visited an abandoned 706 Union Avenue in June, 1960, there were few signs of life at the old Sun studio. The floor was littered with returned 45s in piles nearly 3 feet deep.  On the day everyone moved to the new quarters on Madison Avenue, nobody had bothered to erase the chalkboard in the studio. It still contained the latest sales figures for the last batch of Sun releases. The very last entry on the list was SUN 319. Only five thousands units had been shipped as of moving today. Presumably, sales of this release eventually broke into five figures, before Sam Phillips realized that all the gunshot overdubs had been in vain.
 
03 – ''I'LL TRY'' - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Conwat Twitty-Jack Nance
Publisher: - Sony/ATV Tree Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 21, 1959
Released: - 2009
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16936-28 mono
RAY SMITH – THE SUN YEARS PLUS
 
Name (Or. No Of Instruments)
Ray Smith - Vocal
Stanley Walker - Guitar and Duet on "Sail Away"
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Billy Riley - Guitar
Stan Kesler or Cliff Acred - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
Charlie Rich - Piano
 
Vocal Chorus overdubbed on unknown date March 1959
 
For Biography of Ray Smith see: > The Sun Biographies <
Ray Smith's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

FEBRUARY 22, 1959 SUNDAY

Loretta Lynn twice sees her father in a casket in dreams. He dies that night.

FEBRUARY 23, 1959 MONDAY

Ernest Tubb recorded ''I Cried A Tear'' during the evening at Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville.

Johnny Cash earns a number 1 country single in Billboard magazine with ''Don't Take Your Guns To Town''.

FEBRUARY 25, 1959 WEDNESDAY

Rose Maddox has her first Capitol recording session in Los Angeles. Though it's a solo date, she's backed by two of her brothers, guitarist Gal Maddox and mandolin player Henry Maddox.

FEBRUARY 25, 1959 WEDNESDAY

Charlie Rich had been coming in for a while playing on sessions, writing songs, and working with Bill Justis with the goal of becoming a recording artist himself instead of always being in the supporting role. In fact, he had a release the previous summer, though Sam wasn't all out for the idea. It was one of those songs they called ''manufactured'', written for a purpose other than artistic expression. This was ''Philadelphia Baby'', a fast number with a repetitive refrain that Charlie wrote, most likely at the urging of someone at Sun who thought Dick Clark and his listeners would jump on it because of the local angle. It bombed.

All of the people of the Sun office found Charlie intriguing, partly because he was so reticent. He was due in for a session in early February, and they were sitting around talking about him. Roland James, the faithful guitar session man, said, ''When I heard him for the first time, I thought he was colored''. Sally Wilbourn said, ''I think he could be a great ballad singer, like Brook Benton''. Regina said with a little shiver, ''He's so good looking''! His prematurely gray hair, his soulful blue eyes, and his aura of solid masculinity did indeed make an appealing hunk of man, reflected, now that Regina mentioned it.

When Charlie walked in, then they told him been talking about him, but they didn't mention the good looking part. It was fun to tease Charlie because he was painfully shy. He was a big guy, good enough to get a football scholarship to the University of Arkansas. He had planned to major in music but finished just part of his freshman year. Instead, he had gone into the Air Force, gotten married, had three kids, farmed in West Memphis for a time, and now he was with Sun.

His wife, Margaret Ann, was his high-school sweetheart and biggest booster. She had come in once with him recently, and Barbara Barnes had sat in a booth across from the two of them, having coffee at Taylor's Restaurant. According to Barbara, ''I could sense their closeness and the obvious love and strong bond that united them. When we had finished our coffee, he patted his wife's hand and said, ''Come on, let's go, Maggie Jean''. A fond nickname, obviously, the way Sam called Sally ''Sally Bo'', though her name was Sally Jo. Later I said to Charlie, ''You two look really married'', and he smiled and thanked me. It was Margaret Ann who had brought some tapes of Charlie to Bill Justis, who in turn introduced Charlie's work to Sam''.

Sam Phillips instantly grasped that Charlie could be of benefit to the company in several ways. He immediately signed him to a songwriting contract, and Charlie also started playing on sessions. Sometimes he would come in and sit at the piano all morning, just noodling, working out some lyrics, a melody, or some interesting harmony. At those times, he would look utterly lost in his thoughts or the music in his head. During the past year, he had written lead sheets for the songs Johnny Cash and some others wrote, a big help to Bill Justis, who up until then had been the only one around the studio writing out the compositions.

For this session, Bill and Sam were both present, one of the few times that Sam present when they were in the process of cutting a record. Things seemed to be going pretty well. After a time of letting the musicians ''mill around'' as Jack Clement called it, getting comfortable in the studio, they could tell were running through a couple of numbers. Ten all of a sudden the musicians started filing out of the studio and spilled out onto the sidewalk, headed for coffee next door. Roland Janes mumbled, ''Charlie don't like that song. He says he won't record it''.

Sam Phillips had come into the session with ''Big Man'', a number with a spiritual sound that was well suited to Charlie's style. But Charlie objected that calling God ''Big Man'' was sacrilegious. He came from a devout family in which the parents were gospel singers, and he was religious, having in his younger days aspired to be a preacher. He wanted no part of using God in a commercial song such as ''Big Man''. Sam had sent the others on break while he reasoned with Charlie. How could Charlie resist when Sam turned on his oratory? After awhile, they did cut the song but Sam chose not to release it right away.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Charlie Rich's second Phillips International session revealed once again that the label had more than a session pianist and composer on its hand. "Rebound" was the nearest Charlie Rich came to assimilating a pure rock and roll performance in all the time he was cut at Sun. A product of Arkansas turf, his love of jazz and blues spawned an intimate style that was fine-tuned during a spell with the US Airforce.

However it was undoubtedly Jerry Lee Lewis whom he was trying to emulate when he committed this rattling little exercise to tape. The song was also cut by ex-labelmates, Conway Twitty for MGM and Ray Smith for Judd respectively.

STUDIO SESSION FOR CHARLIE RICH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 25, 1959
PRODUCER - BILL JUSTIS AND/OR CHARLIE RICH
RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) – "REBOUND" - B.M.I. - 1:47
Composer: - Charlie Rich-W.E. Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 349 - Master
Recorded: - February 25, 1959
Released: - June 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single > PI 3542-A < mono
REBOUND / BIG MAN
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rom BCD 15806-1-7 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6

01(2) – "REBOUND" - B.M.I. - 0:45
Composer: - Charlie Rich-W.E. Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Count-In - 4x False Start - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 25, 1959
Released: - 1998
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16152-2-1 mono
LONELY WEEKENDS - THE SUN YEARS 1958 - 1962

01(3) - "REBOUND" - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Charlie Rich-W.E. Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 25, 1959
Released: - 1998
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16152-2-2 mono
LONELY WEEKENDS - THE SUN YEARS 1958 - 1962

02 - "SAD NEWS"* - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Charlie Rich
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 425 - Master - Instrumental
Recorded: - February 25, 1959
Released: - December 10, 1960
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single > Sun 354-A < mono
SAD NEWS / RED MAN
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-3-2 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4

Bobbie Sheridan alias Charlie Rich, was Sun's answer to Floyd Cramer; or, looked at another way, "Sad News" was Sun's answer to "Last Date". The trouble is, Floyd Cramer could go out and promote his records whenever he could get away from all that session work in Nashville. Bobbie Sheridan? Well, he sure looked an awful lot like Charlie Rich. About as much as "The Hawk" looked like Jerry Lee Lewis. "Sad News", the "hit" side of the disc, is pretty much forgettable fare.

03(1) - "BIG MAN" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Dale Fox
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 350 - Master
Recorded: - February 25, 1959
Released: - 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single < PI 3542-B < mono
BIG MAN / REBOUND
Reissued: - 1998 Bear family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806-1-8 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6

The story behind "Big Man" has only recently come to light (See on bottom). Drummer J.M. Van Eaton recalls that the song's composer, Dale Fox, had booked the studio and Sun house band to record his tune. Things were going from bad to worse and Sam Phillips finally suggested that pianist Charlie Rich take a shot at the vocal. The results were highly impressive and a restrained chorus was overdubbed for release as a single.

Van Eaton recalls taking the unusual step of separately miking his bass drum, which became one of the arrangement's most distinctive features. "Big Man" is a wonderful record. Charlie's soulful vocal is at least five years ahead of its time. Otis Redding, Percy Sledge and Solomon Burke sounded like this in the mid-1960s, but this was early 1959 and, as this and several outtakes, Charlie was totally comfortable with the melisma and cadences of the black church long before they had been drawn into the musical mainstream.

Sam Phillips was duly impressed with the driving and intense style of the next alternate recording and following the session called Rich over for a private chat. In essence, he told him: "This record sounds great Charlie, but I doubt we can sell a lot of it. Keep this feel and write me a pop song and we can make a ton of money for you". Charlie went home thinking about Phillips words. The next time he appeared in the studio it was to record "Lonely Weekend". which went to the top of the charts and made Sam Phillips look like a prophet.

03(2) - "BIG MAN" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Dale Fox
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 25, 1958
Released: - 1998
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16152-2-6 mono
LONELY WEEKENDS - THE SUN YEARS 1958 - 1962

Interestingly, the deity is never mentioned by name here. The "Big man" is a clever way of keeping things fairly secular despite the song's underlying message. The result are deeply southern more than deeply religious. Charlie's line "I holler on the Big man" market this record as simultaneously enchanting and native to only one region of the country. Sales of the record were relatively flat but Sam Phillips was mightily impressed. "Write me a song that keeps this feeling, but doesn't have all that religious crap and we've got us a hit record", he told Charlie after the session. Rich heard him and went home rolling ideas over in his mind. Four months later he was back in the studio to work on his next single. It would make Sam look like a prophet.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Rich - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Cliff Acred - Bass
Billy Riley - Bass
J.M. Van Eaton - Drums
Unidentified - Trumpet

Gene Lowery Singers consisting of
Edwin Bruce, Sara Bruce, Nita Smith, Lee Holt, Vocal Chorus

* - Issued as by Bobby Sheridan

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

In 1958 or 1959 Ernie Barton recorded ''The Battle Of Earl K. Long'' b/w ''The Man With A Heart Of Gold'' for Honesty Records in Memphis. The record was designed to promote the gubernatorial ambition of Louisiana's Earl K. Long, who was serving his third term as governor, but considered resigning so that he could run a constitutionally prohibited fourth time.

''Ann Higdon was Earl Long's niece''. said Barton, ''and Long was trying to run for governor again. She'd written this poem, ''The Battle Of Earl K. Long''. It didn't really work until I changed it around. I already had this song, ''She's Got A Heart Of Gold'', and I changed that to ''The Man With A Heart Of Gold''. Sam put the deal together 'cause he got the publishing on both of them. It got played off loudspeakers and was given away in supermarkets and the like. I was young enough and stupid enough to get mixed up in Louisiana politics''.

The story about ''Big Man'' Jimmy M. Van Eaton recalls, ''Sam hardly ever rented out his studio. Most of the time it was just Sun artists in there. But for some reason he rented it out one day to a guy who had just written a gospel tune. It was called ''Big Man''. The guy (Dale Fox) was having an awful time trying to sing it. We did it over and over and he just couldn't get it right. Finally, Sam said to him 'Why don't you just let Charlie went ahead and did it and he just did a tremendous job. Everybody loved the way it came out. We really all got into it. I did this bass drum thing that we had never done before. Prior to that, we never featured the bass drum because we didn't have enough microphones in the studio. Sam used to run the bass drum through the same mike as the bass guitar or string bass. For some reason, he miked them separately that day and we got a very different sound''.

Jimmy M. Van Eaton continues, ''After ''Big Man'' came out, Sam talked to Charlie and said Í think we really got something here'. Trouble is, it was a gospel song and Sam probably figured he was going to have trouble selling it. So he suggested to Charlie that he go home and work up a pop song with the same feel to it. That's how ''Lonely Weekends'' was born. Charlie wrote that and ''Everything I Do Is Wrong'' and when he came back into the studio we got that same bluesy feel. I used the same bass drum figure on both sides of the record that we had on ''Big Man''. It was very unusual at the time''.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ERNIE BARTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 25, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - ERNIE BARTON

The tale of this record by Ernie Barton could keep a team of archaeologists in business. Among out most recent discoveries. First, the wonderful free spirit that you hear on this release did not emerge spontaneously off the floor; rather, it was layered together piece by piece - first the band track, then Barton's vocal, and finally the chorus. Second, many knowledgeable Sun collectors will recognize "Open The Door Richard", credited to Ernie Barton, has previously been released on several occasions as a Billy Riley title.

The mistake is understandable. For one thing, Barton sounds a lot like Riley - two southern white boys talking and singing in jivey black style. For another, according to the Sun Records Discography by Escott and Hawkins, Billy Riley recorded a version of this title on November 25, 1957, over a year before the Barton session. It didn't help the confusion when the Barton version was stored on a Riley reel in the Sun vault.

It now appears that if Billy Riley ever recorded a version of "Open The Door Richard" at Sun, the tapes haven't survived. As if this puzzle needed more complications, consider the fact that Barton's record has never been seen by Sun collectors. It may have simply been assigned a number and never released for reasons that have been lost to time. Interviewed by Colin Escott in 1987, Ernie Barton insisted that "Richard" had indeed been released, but the fact that not one copy has surfaced doesn't seem to bear this out. To confuse matters yet more, Riley has never once suggested that the version issued under his name was not his.

01 - "OPEN THE DOOR RICHARD" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Jack McVea-Dusty Fletcher-John Mason-Dan Howell
Publisher: - MCA Music Limited
Matrix number: - P 347 - Master
Recorded: - February 25, 1959 - Issued under Ernie Barton's name
Released: - 1959 (Unissued)
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single > PI 3541-A < mono
OPEN THE DOOR RICHARD / SHUT YOUR MOUTH
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806-1-5 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6

"Open The Door Richard" was a slice of black vaudeville, and on immense hit record in the 1940s, crossing over into the pop marketplace. Interestingly, many of the competing versions were quite different. Black music hall star Dusty Fletcher popularized the number, which dated back to a much earlier routine by John "Pider Bruce" Mason. Jack McVea's record became the biggest hit, though, and it was McVea's record that was generally copied, albeit with more variations, by the likes of Count Basie. All versions returned to the same chorus, which provided instant recognition, and the selling point.

02 - "SHUT YOUR MOUTH"* - B.M.I. - 1:43
Composer: - Ernie Barton
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - P 348 - Master
Recorded: - February 25, 1959 - Issued under Ernie Barton's name.
Released: - 1959 (Unissued)
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single > PI 3541-B < mono
OPEN THE DOOR RICHARD / SHUT YOUR MOUTH
Other Sun releases: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806-1-6 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6

This side, "Shut Your Mouth", is, if nothing else, a very politically incorrect song in this day and age. The grating whiney female part played by Sun's secretary Regina Reese, and Barton's abusive male might have been stock figures in 1959 culture but 40 years later they don't do much to enhance anyone's reputation. Joe Turner sent a similar message with his "Honey Hush" in a far more engaging way, both lyrically and musically.

03 - "ANYTIME ANYMORE''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - February 25, 1959

04 - "TOMORROW NEVER COMES''
Composer: - Ernest Tubb-Johnny Bond
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - February 25, 1959

05 - "THE BATTLE OF EARL K. LONG'' - B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Ernie Barton
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - H 302 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 25, 1959
Released: - 1975
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm Bopcat 300 mono
I'M MOVING ON
Reissued: - 1987 White Label (LP) 33rpm WLP 8918 mono
MEMPHIS, ROCK AND ROLL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD - VOLUME 5

06 - "WHIRLPOOL'' - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Ernie Barton
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - February 25, 1959
Released: - January 2018
First appearance: - Crazy Warthog Media (MP3) Internet Sample-12 mono
HEY! GOOD LOOKING

07 - "KEEP ON LOVING YOU''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - February 25, 1959

08 - "SHE'S GONE AWAY''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - February 25, 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ernie Barton - Vocal
Regina Reese - Vocal*
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - 2nd Vocal & Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Charlie Rich - Piano
Martin Willis - Saxophone

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

EARLY 1959

Bill Justis and his band continued to work in 1958 and Early 1959 to work up instrumental themes but their philosophy was at odds with the simplicity and raw emotion Sam Phillips preferred. Vernon Drane said, ''Sam was a funny man, If there was one little thing about a tune he didn't like he wouldn't release to no matter how much time he'd invested recording it.

There were a lot of things we sweated blood on that he never released''. Justis took his work seriously despite his sometimes glib style, and this led to his downfall at Sun.

FEBRUARY 26, 1959 THURSDAY

''September Song'' songwriter Maxwell Anderson suffers a stroke at his residence in Stamford, Connecticut, on the 28th anniversary of his first wife's death. Anderson dies two days later.

Songwriter Kenny Beard is born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He authors Tracy Adkins' ''The Rest Of Mine'', Tracy Lawrence's ''Is That A Tear'' and Aaron Tippin's ''Where The Stars And Stripes And The Eagle Fly''.

FEBRUARY 27, 1959 FRIDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis has a son, Steve Allen, in Ferriday, Louisiana. The boy is named after TV host Steve Allen.

Billy Grammer joins the Grand Ole Opry, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Johnny Van Zant is born in Jacksonville, Florida. The brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant and 38 Special's Donnie Van Zant, he joins Skynyrd in the 1980s and also teams with Ronnie to form Van Zant, a duo that nabs a country hit in 2005.

FEBRUARY 28, 1959 SATURDAY

Playwright Maxwell Anderson dies in Stamford, Connecticut, two days after suffering a stroke. Anderson co-wrote ''September Song'', which becomes a country hit for Willie Nelson 20 years later.

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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 - ©