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

1959 SESSIONS (4)
April 1, 1959 to April 30, 1959

Probably Studio Session for Edwin Bruce, April 1959 / Sun Records

Studio Session for Alton Lott & Jimmy Harrell, April 5, 1959 / Sun Records
- Untold Sun Stories: Alton Lott And Jimmy Harrell -

Studio Session for Tracy Pendarvis, Summer 1959 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Brad Suggs, April 13, 1959 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Bill Justis, Probably April 30, 1959 / Sun Records 

- Memphis Internationally Known As Recording Center -
by Edwin Howard, Memphis Press-Scimitar Amusement Editor, April 28, 1959.

- He's Made $2 Million On Disks - Without A Desk -
by Edwin Howard Memphis Press-Scimitar Amusement Editor, April 29, 1959

Studio Session for Bill Justis, Unknown Date(s) / 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 - ©

APRIL 1959

Bill Justis sets up Play Me Records at 2065 Union Avenue. Jack Clement starts Summer Records in Buckalew-Pierce Offices, Columbian Mutual Tower, and joins Stan Kesler as a partner at Echo Studio on Manassas Avenue. By this point, Kesler's Crystal Records has folded.

Construction starts on a new Phillips Recording Studio at 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis.

PI 3540 ''Forty 'Leven Times'' b/w ''More Pretty Girls Than One'' by Edwin Howard issued

APRIL 1959

Jerry Lee Lewis is on tour with Cookie and the Cupcakes, as a supporting act. Cookie and the Cupcakes are an American swamp pop band from south Louisiana, best known for their 1959 hit "Mathilda". The band originally started as The Boogie Ramblers, led by Shelton Dunaway. Huey "Cookie" Thierry (1936–1997) joined the band in 1952, and shared lead vocals and tenor sax with Dunaway.

Other original members were Sidney "Hot Rod" Reynaud (tenor sax), Marshall Laday (or LeDee) (guitar), Ernest Jacobs (piano), Joe "Blue" Landry (bass) and Ivory Jackson (drums).[2] The band was based in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

They started playing in 1953 as the house band at the Moulin Rouge Club in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In 1955, the Boogie Ramblers released "Cindy Lou" and "Such As Love" on Goldband Records. They became a popular regional live act, and toured with big names like Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino.

In 1956, Cookie began being the band's front man and the name of the band was changed to "Cookie and the Boogie Ramblers''. Soon after, the band was changed to its final name after hearing it shouted in jest from an audience. In 1957, they recorded their signature song ''Mathilda'' for Judd Records. After initial struggles to get the song recorded they were able to use KAOK's studio. The record rose to number 47 on the Billboard pop chart in early 1959, and is regarded as the unofficial anthem of the swamp pop genre. They followed up with a number of highly regarded but less commercially successful singles in the early 1960s, including "Belinda", "Betty And Dupree", and "Got You On My Mind", the latter reached The Billboards Hot 100 in May 1963.

In August 1965, Thierry moved to Los Angeles, leaving the Cupcakes to continue without him. Cookie was replaced as lead singer by "Little Alfred" (or "Lil' Alfred") Babino (January 5, 1944, Lake Charles, November 14, 2006). With Ernest Jacobs as bandleader, the group continued for several years but dispersed in the early 1970s.

Thierry was rediscovered in the 1990s and played at occasional blues festivals, reunited with the rest of the band, until his death in 1997. Thereafter, the band, led by Lil' Alfred, continued to perform at clubs in Louisiana and southeast Texas. Babino died at his residence in Lake Charles, in 2006.

APRIL 1959

Bill Justis sets up Play Me Records at 2065 Union Avenue. Jack Clement starts Summer Records in Buckalew-Pierce Offices, Columbian Mutual Tower, and joins Stan Kesler as a partner at Echo Studio on Manassas Avenue. By this point, Kesler's Crystal Records has folded.

Construction starts on a new Phillips Recording Studio at 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis.

PI 3540 ''Forty 'Leven Times'' b/w ''More Pretty Girls Than One'' by Edwin Howard issued

APRIL 1959

Songwriter/guitarist Alton Lott and Jimmy Harrell nearly were different enough, with their supercharged Everly Brothers duet style and their weighty guitar riffs and solos. By the time they appeared at Sun in mid-summer 1959 they were perhaps that little bit too late. They had to take their commendably tough style of pop-rock on to several small Mississippi labels.

APRIL 1959

NASA introduces the first group of astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven, during April of 1959. The astronauts were Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Walter Schirra, Donald Slayton, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, L. Gordon Cooper, and M. Scott Carpenter. The group consisted of military aviators, 3 from the Navy, 3 from the Air Force, and 1 from the Marine Corps. The astronauts took part in the United States’ first human space flight program, Project Mercury. Many of the men would also go on to take part in future NASA projects such as the Gemini program and the Apollo program. Some notable achievements by the Mercury Seven included Alan Shepard becoming the first American in space and John Glenn becoming the first American to orbit the Earth.

APRIL 2, 1959 THURSDAY

Dean Townson, from Pirates Of The Mississippi, is born in Battle Creek, Michigan. He plays bass on their lone hit, 1991's ''Feed Jake''.

APRIL 3, 1959 FRIDAY

''Battle Of New Orleans'' songwriter Jimmy Driftwood performs at a Folksong 1959 concert at New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall, along with Muddy waters, Memphis Slim, Mike and Pete Seeger and Alan Lomax.

APRIL 4, 1959 SATURDAY

Bill Anderson makes his Grand Ole Opry debut at Nashville's Rayman Auditorium.

The John Wayne movie ''Rio Bravo'' opens in theaters. Ricky Nelson has a part in the flick, as do Dean Matin and Walter Brennen.

APRIL 5, 1959 SUNDAY

Flatt and Scruggs recorded ''Cabin In The Hills'', and Bill Anderson recorded ''Ninety-Nine''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR EDWIN BRUCE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERIVE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY APRIL 1959
OR MAYBE JUNE 5, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

A lot of tape was expended on ''King Of Fools''. If the cryptic notes inside Sun tape boxes are to believed, Edwin Bruce returned for Sun for the last time in April 1959 to try ''King Of Fools'' yet again. If so, it was his swansong at Sun.

01(1) - "KING OF FOOLS" - B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Edwin Bruce
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 1
Recorded: - Probaby April 1958 or July 21, 1959
Released: - 2021
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17616-14 mono
THE COMPLETE SUN & WAND RECORDINGS 1957- 1965

01(2) - "KING OF FOOLS" - B.M.I. - 1:50
Composer: - Edwin Bruce
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 2
Recorded: - Probaby April 1958 or July 21, 1959
Released: - 2021
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17616-5 mono
THE COMPLETE SUN & WAND RECORDINGS 1957- 1965

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Edwin Bruce - Voacl & Guitar
Unknown Musicians

During his final year on Sun, Edwin Bruce took over Elvis Presley's original backup duo of Scotty Moore and Bill Black. ''I had a gig at the Rebel Club in Osceala, Arkansas. It was one of those places where you take someone to count the door so you get a fair shake. Play for $10 a night and all the pride you can swallow. Elvis (Tom Parker) had fired Scotty and Bill and I called Bill when I was putting together a group for the Rebel Club. Bill said, 'Who else you got'? I said, ''Johnny Cannon, who later became Ace Cannon, playing sax' and he said, 'Well, why don't you call Scotty. He needs the work''.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ALTON LOTT & JIMMY HARRELL
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERIVE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY APRIL 5, 1959
OR MAYBE JUNE 5, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS,
JACK CLEMENT AND/OR STAN KESLER

Once in a while Sun Records might take a call regarding an act from The Louisiana Hayride and it was the show's entrepreneurial Tillman Franks who put in a good word for Alton and Jimmy. The two buddies from Hillsboro, Mississippi had already seen the inside of a recording studio when they tried-out for Ace Records but their real worth came when they made it up to Memphis. A hasty audition became a fully-fledged session some two months later, from whence this fine 45 emerged.

Alton Lott and Jimmy Harrell have not received a lot of attention in the Sun reissue sweepstakes. On this basis of the single, it is not clear why.

01(1) - "NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 1:58
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Cajun Publisher
Matrix number: - U 363 - Master
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - June 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single > Sun 323-B < mono
NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES / HAVE FAITH IN MY LOVE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-4-13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

If someone told you that "No More Crying The Blues" was cut bu a garage band in 1991, you might not bat an eye. In some ways, Alton and Jimmy were ahead of their time. Certainly, this is not the kind of rockabilly Sun is famous for. Yet, by 1959, this was all that was left of the vintage Sun sound. Assisted by Billy Riley (bass) and Jimmy Van Eaton, this was as close to the old days as anybody was likely to get in a changing marketplace. Truly, what we have here is a countryside vocal duet over intense guitar-driven rock and roll.

01(2) - "NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Cajun Publisher
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - August 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16405-16 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 17

01(3) - "NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Cajun Publisher
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - May 15, 2012
First appearance: - Sun Records Music Group (CD) 500/200rpm X5-2 mono
SUN RED HOT ROCKABILLY SUMMER

Mississippi-born singer Jimmy Harrell prefers the above alternate take of "No More Cryin' The Blues" to the version issued on SUN 323. Although the difference are subtle, there is an undeniably tougher edge to this track. "That's Alton playing the lead guitar" Harrell was quick to inform.

"For years the credits has gone to Roland Janes, but its not him. Roland was on the session, but when he heard how good Alton was, he just sat back and let him take it".

The April 5, 1959 session (not June 5, as appears in most discographiest) that produced their lone Sun single was arranged by a phone call from Tillman Franks. "We thought we were going up there for an audition, but Sam was waiting for us with a recording contract and a studio full of musicians. We couldn't believe it".

Alton and Jimmy, who recorded two unissued sides for Ace Records in 1958, never saw a penny in royalties for Sun 323. Despite the lack of financial reward, Jimmy concedes that "having recorded for Sun is probably the main thing people will remember me for, no matter how much else I accomplish in my life". In truth, there were few Sun records released in 1959 that sounded this good.

02 - "HAVE FAITH IN MY LOVE" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Alton Harrell-Jimmy Lott
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated - Cajun Publisher
Matrix number: - U 362 - Master
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - June 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single > Sun 323-A < mono
HAVE FAITH IN MY LOVE / NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-4-14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

On this side, "Have Faith In My Love", is an almost uncanny cross between Mack Self's glorious "Easy To Love" and Riley's "One More Time", recorded just 24 hours earlier at 706 Union!. This hybrid is obsoletely clear during the solo guitar intro.

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

03 - "I JUST DON'T KNOW" - B.M.I. - 2:07
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1036-3 mono
MORE SUNDOWN ROCKERS
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8318-11 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 2

04 - "WHAT'S THE USE" - B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: – 1999
First appearance: – Sun International (LP) 33rpm 706 2-9 mono
MEMPHIS BOP – VOLUME 2
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8318-12 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 2

05(1) - "WHY DO I LOVE YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - 1988
First appearance: – Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1036-2 mono
MORE SUNDOWN ROCKERS
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8318-10 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 2

05(2) - "WHY DO I LOVE YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - May 15, 2012
First appearance: – Sun Records Music Group (CD) 500/200rpm X5-12 mono
SUN - ROCKABILLY ARCHIVE

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

For Biography of Jimmy Harrell and Alton Lott see: > The Sun Biographies <
Jimmy Harell and Alton Lott's Sun recordings can be heard on their playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

UNTOLD SUN STORIES: ALTON LOTT AND JIMMY HARRELL – Quite a few Sun artists saw their stories in print for the first time on the series of Sun Records, but despite our best efforts, several eluded us. One such was Alton & Jimmy who made one of the best records in Sun's 300 series. Jimmy Harrell was born some 30 miles east of Jackson, Mississippi in the small town of Forest, on November 16, 1936.

Jimmy's cousin, Alton Lott, was also born in Forest on June 17, 1940. ''We lived at the Harrell homeplace'', said Jimmy. ''Alton's parents moved to New Orleans, but we still saw each other lot. His parents played in bands in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.My father, Monroe Harrell, was a fiddle player and a guitar player, and played on radio in Forest and Jackson. Alton and I would listen to our families sing and play country music''.

The Harrells moved to Hernando, just south of Memphis around 1947. Jimmy's father managed a plantation there. Jimmy joined the Navy in 1954. ''I got out, and there were no jobs'', he said. ''Then we had a family get-together in Forest, and my Aunt Peggy said I should come to Jackson. Alton lived there then, working at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, so we lived in the same household. Alton didn't care for singing. He just wanted to play the guitar''. Alton was hugely influenced by Scotty Moore and Chuck Berry, and remembers seeing Elvis, Scotty and Bill in their early days. Jimmy also remembers seeing Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys stop for gas in Hernando. Living in the Memphis vicinity, he'd listen to locally popular disc jockeys like Dewey Phillips, Rufus Thomas, and Eddie Bond.

''After I moved to Jackson, Alton and I would sit around and come up with song ideas'', said Jimmy. ''Alton had a group that played locally. Right down the street there was a little recording studio, and there was a trailer outside that said 'Andy Anderson and the Rolling Stones'. We'd rehearse together. Andy had a recording contract, and we said that if he could do it, we could do it. We walked into Ace Records, did an audition, and Johnny Vincent took us to Cosimo's in New Orleans and recorded a joint session with Harry Lee'. This would have been around 1957. Lee's single was released on Vin that year, although Alton & Jimmy's single went unreleased.

''We'd heard of Melvin Cox, who wanted to be a manager'', remembered Jimmy. ''We went and played for him, and he had a manager's contract ready, and signed us in the kitchen. He knew (Slim Whitman's ex-guitarist) Curley Herndon, and Curly introduced up to Tillman Franks, who managed the Louisiana Hayride's booking agency. We auditioned for Curley and he told Tillman that he needed us. We went on the Hayride that night. Tillman asked us to come back to his office, and we played him ''No More Crying The Blues'' and ''Have Faith In My Love''. He jumped on the phone to Sam Phillips and Sam said, 'Send ém up'''.

Tillman had cut the Hayride's publishing company, Cajun Music, in for 50 percent of the songs, and arranged a date at Sun. ''We walked in the old studio'', said Jimmy. ''Scared as rabbits. Eyes as big as quarters. Sam was there. Jud too. Sam signed us and said, 'Let's get ready. Let's go'. We cut it right there and then, but we came out kinda depressed. We thought we could have done it better. We expected more attention to the music. We just did a few takes and that was it. We went back a couple of months later and cut ''I Just Don't Know'' and ''What's The Use''. Sam was looking for songs he could pitch to Elvis. The record came out. Sam gave us two boxes of 50 to take away for promotion.''

''I was in the Naval Reserve at the time. I got a letter saying I was being recalled for active duty because I hadn't been attending drills as required. I spent eight years as an enlisted man, and 25 years more mostly with the Medical Corps. In the Washington, D.C. Area''.

Alton stayed in music as a session musician. ''It was devastating when Jimmy left'', he said. ''I didn't play for a while there, then I started back doing sessions for Ace and then Malaco. I worked a few shows with Jerry Lee Lewis, and played some with Murray Kellum and with showbands around Jackson. Then, in 1965, I joined a band called Faux Pas, and stayed with them until 1978. Played all over. The manager of Rolox Windows in Kansas City used to come see us, and he said that if we ever wanted to settle down and get off the road, he'd give us jobs. I went and the drummer went too. I still listen to music, though. I really like a lot of the new stuff. Alanis Morisette, Pearl Jam, Rush. I'll go see their concerts''.

Alton and Jimmy reunited at Alton's mother's funeral, and are now keen to work together again. Jimmy retired from the Navy in 1993 and lives in Jacksonville, Florida, while Alton remains in Grandview, Missouri.

APRIL 1959

The first week in April the the Music Operators of America (MOA) were set to convene in Chicago. Sam Phillips didn't like to travel, didn't like the crowds, and though Sun didn't have a booth or a hospitality suite, it fell to Barbara Barnes to go and see what she could discover about new trends in the business that might affect Sun. The independent manufacturers sometimes sort of spied on each other at these meetings, and everybody was ''fronting'', putting forward the best they had in product or at least talking it up. Barbara planned to go to the meeting, too, and not hang out in the bar as Jud Phillips had done. It was also another chance for her to talk with reporters and editors from the major trade papers. Cash Box was especially slanted toward the jukebox segment of the industry, but Billboard and other papers were represented, too.

Since Jud Phillips and Barbara had gone together last year, she knew what to expect and had no trepidation about jumping into the mix on the convention floor, eager to see the exhibits that other record companies, manufacturers of jukeboxes, vendors of technical equipment, and others were showing this year. In the evening Jack Weiner came to attend the show. He was a studio designer and sound engineer who, as a boy whiz of twenty, had designed the famous Chess studios at 2120 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The Chess brothers had been enjoying great success with Chuck Berry, but had also recorded many great African American artists including Muddy Waters. Sam Phillips had once leased blues masters to them while they were getting out of the scrap-metal business and into recording in a converted auto-parts factory.

Jack Weiner had been coming to Memphis to advise Sam Phillips about the new Sun studios. He looked even younger than he was, but cute. He had a very direct, some would say aggressive, manner, which in Memphis came off as a lack of manners at times. But they got along fine. Syd Nathan of King Records in Cincinnati was there on the convention. He was one of the grandfathers of the rhythm and blues movement, a tough old bird. He had recorded ''Sixty Minute Man'' and ''Work With Me, Annie'', two great recordings. Herman Lubinsky of Savoy in New Jersey, like some other manufactures, had brought one of his artists to MOA, Big Maybelle caught everyone's eye when she walked onto the floor, truly enormous, in her shimmering electric blue dress. She was a blues shouter from Jackson, Tennessee, also the hometown of Carl Perkins.

The evening promised to be exciting, but Barbara soon became alarmed about being alone at the convention. Sometimes with Jack Clement and at other times joining other informal groups, she had drifted from one little cluster of people to another, hearing conversations that to her southern ears were very rude, indicating a lack of respect for a woman's presence. She felt threatened in a way, not just shocked. Barbara didn't think she was a prude or overly sheltered, but she was beginning to feel creeped out.

Lubinsky was the most foul-mouthed of them all. He didn't have a reputation in the business for being a scrupulous person, so perhaps Barbara should have expected to find him repellent. But it wasn't just the language of these record-industry men; they were just so crude that she began to wonder what they thought of her. Maybe they'd never seen a woman in a professional role at these meetings. Surely they didn't think she was a hooker! With Jud Phillips, everyone she met had been reasonably polite, now she came to believe only in deference to him, not her. She remembered the rumors last year about Chicago and organized crime, and her imagination began to kick in. She booked a flight for early the next morning and waved a relieved goodbye to Chicago.

APRIL 6, 1959 MONDAY

Columbia released Ray Price's ''Heartaches By The Number'', and Capitol released Hank Thompson's ''Anybody's Girl''.

APRIL 7, 1959 TUESDAY

Marty Robbins recorded ''El Paso'' and ''Big Iron'' in the same recording session at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville while cutting the entire ''Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs'' album in a single day.

APRIL 8, 1959 WEDNESDAY

Ricky Nelson performs ''It's Late'' on ABC's ''The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet''.

APRIL 9, 1959 THURSDAY

Keyboard player Dave Innis is born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He helps form Restless Heart and is with the band through its largest commercial success, including ''I'll Still Be Loving You'' and ''When She Cries''.

APRIL 12, 1959 SUNDAY

Blues and soul singer Brook Benton performs ''It's Just A Matter Of Time'' in New York on CBS' ''The Ed Sullivan Show''. The song is destined to become a country hit twice, for Sonny James and for Randy Travis.

Columbia released Johnny Horton's ''The Battle Of New Orleans''.

APRIL 13, 1959 MONDAY

George Jones picks up his first number 1 country single in Billboard magazine as a recording artist with ''White Lightning''.

SUMMER 1959

Tracy Pendarvis, on the other hand, saw nothing that even approached a hit. His sound was a sweet anachronism in the changing times. Coming from Florida, Pendarvis was one of the few early rock and roll artists to call the Sunshine State his home. Pendarvis managed to make music that was both lyrical and hardedged and he certainly made the right move in journeying to Memphis, but he was arguably two years late.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Had the misfortune to arrive at Sun just a little too late. If he had arrived in 1956 instead of 1958 or early in 1959 then his career night have taken a different direction. As it was, he made some of the best records to appear on the magic yellow label as the new decade approached. Certainly, he was the only artist whose style harked back to the golden days of Sun Records.

By this point, Tracy Pendarvis had married and had started a career as an electrician. However, he, his buddy Johnny Gibson and drummer Merrill ''Punk'' Williams decided that they should take a shot at Sun Records. They were met by fellow Floridian Ernie Barton who arranged an audition with Sam Phillips. Despite the fact that their sparse rockabilly sound had fallen from vogue, Phillips signed them on the spot.

STUDIO SESSION FOR TRACY PENDARVIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE EARLY (SUMMER) 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - ERNIE BARTON AND STAN KESLER

In time-honoured fashion, Tracy Rexford Pendarvis homed in on the fabled Sun Record company by loading up his car in Cross City, Florida, and heading north west to Memphis. Already under his belt were two singles he'd cut for the local Scott label on the strength of winning a radio station talent contest. Sam's house producer, Ernie Barton, was sufficiently impressed and this session ethereal - sounding "rockabilly" became Tracy's debut for Sun.

01(1) - "UH HUH, OH YEAH" - B.M.I. - 1:53
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1031-10 mono
COUNTRY ROCK SIDES
Reissued: - August 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16210-27 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 14

01(2) - "UH HUH, OH YEAH" - B.M.I. - 1:50
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Buffalo Bop Records (LP) 33rpm BP LP 2078-B-4 mono
TRACY PENDARVIS - A THOUSAND GUITARS
Reissued - 1997 - Buffalo Bop Records (CD) 500/200rpm BP CD 55054-11 mono
TRACY PENDARVIS - A THOUSAND GUITARS

02(1) - "A THOUSAND GUITARS" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 388 - Take 1 Master
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - January 1960
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single > Sun 335-A < mono
A THOUSAND GUITARS / IS IT TO LATE
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-1-13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4

Had this record been recorded and released three or four years earlier, it might rank among Sun's best work. Certainly, it retains touches of what drives Sun Records collectors to the heights of ecstasy. To begin with, Tracy Pendarvis is a name that belongs on a Sun record. Then there's that guitar solo on "A Thousand Guitars". Yes, its true that the song is relatively romantic, even sappy, but it still has an edge. And that edge is nowhere clearer than during those brief four bar interludes when the backbeat sharpens and the guitar comes to the fore.

02(2) - "A THOUSAND GUITARS'' - B.M.I. - 1:30
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Buffalo Bop Records (LP) 33rpm BP LP 2078-A-8 mono
TRACY PENDARVIS - A THOUSAND GUITARS
Reissued: - 1997 Buffalo Bop Records (CD) 500/200rpm BD CD 55054-16 mono
TRACY PENDARVIS - A THOUSAND GUITARS

03(1) - "IS IT TO LATE" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 389 - Master
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - January 1960
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single > Sun 335-B < mono
IS IT TO LATE / A THOUSAND GUITARS
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-1-14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4

This bluesy side also has its moments. Its hard not to get drawn into that simple device of emphasizing the title phrase with a booming 1-2-3-4- on the drums. Once again, the biggest drawback to this record went beyond anything under Pendarvis' control. Not even his sidemen or engineer could help. The overdubs at 839 Madison Avenue was simply out of control and what could have been a tight, tense and focussed record simply swam out of control in an emasculating sea of echo.

03(2) - "IT'S TOO LATE" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Buffalo Bop Records (LP) 33rpm BP LP 2078-14 mono
TRACY PENDARVIS - A THOUSAND GUITARS
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8383-20 mono
RUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 3

Tracy is at pains to point out that of the cuts were simply demos that were played live in the studio for Phillips. On of them ''Beat It'', had a very raw and aggressive sound for the time. ''I guess I was ahead of Michael Jackson with that title, wasn't I?'', concluded Perdarvis. ''I had a few years on him with that one. My song makes about much sense as his, though. It was just stuff nonsense''.

04 - "BEAT IT" - B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - 1987
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS
Reissued: - 2002 Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-5 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 – 2002

Tracy Pendarvis managed to sustain no less than three 45s during his twelve months at Sun, all of which crested the realms usually associated with Carl Mann and Charlie Rich. Bearing in mind the pop climate of the time, it was understandable that he might focus on such an image, which makes the unissued "Beat It" all the more remarkable. In place of a light touch arrangement and some expected teen cliches, we get a demented piano player and a screwball lyric straight out of Deliverance: Hallelujah!

05 - ''HYPNOTIZED'' – (2) - B.M.I. - 1:48
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Buffalo Bop Records (LP) 33rpm BP LP 2078-A3 mono
TRACY PENDARVIS - A THOUSAND GUITARS
Reissued: - 1998 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8317 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 5

06 - ''MY GIRL IN MY HOMETOWN'' - B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8161 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 2
Reissued: 1999 Dressed To Kill (CD) 500/200rpm DTKBOX 66 mono
THE SUN GODS

07 - ''BOP-A-CHA-CHA-BABY'' - B.M.I. - 1:37
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Buffalo Bop Records (LP) 33rpm BP LP 2078-A-5 mono
TRACY PENDARVIS - A THOUSAND GUITARS
Reissued: - 1997 Buffalo Bop Records (CD) 500/200rpm BP CD 55054 mono
TRACY PENDARVIS - A THOUSAND GUITARS

08 - ''PLEASE BE MINE (COME TO ME)'' - B.M.I. - 1:44
Composer: - Tracy Pendarvis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1959
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1031-3 mono
COUNTRY ROCK SIDES
Reissued: - 1997 Buffalo Bop Records (CD) 500/200rpm BP CD 55054-7 mono
TRACY PENDARVIS - A THOUSAND GUITARS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Tracy Pendarvis - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Gibson - Guitar
Sid Manker - Guitar or Bass
Merrill "Punk" Williams - Drums
Jimmy Wilson - Piano

For all the disappointment, Pendarvis respected Phillips' studio method. ''It was just off the cuff - a lot of it. We were just having fun and you could tell. Hard times and a lot of fun. I had a kinda screwy voice but Sam pulled the best out of me. He said, 'Tracy, sing! Cry when you sing'! Sam was really the greatest man I've ever confronted in terms of bringing out my talent. He could look at you and burn your brains out. He had that quality''.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BRAD SUGGS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY APRIL 13, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

01 - ''SAM'S TUNE''
Composer: - Brad Suggs
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - April 13, 1959

02 - ''GAME OF LOVE''
Composer: - Brad Suggs
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - April 13, 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 14, 1959 TUESDAY

''The George Burns Show'' comes to a conclusion on CBS-TV following a six-month prime-time run. Twenty years later, Burns nets a country hit the nostalgic ''I Wish I Was Eighteen Again''.

APRIL 15, 1959 WEDNESDAY

Ricky Nelson performs two songs on ABC's ''The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet'', ''You Tear Me Up'' and ''I Can't Help It''.

APRIL 17, 1959 FRIDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis' Australian tour with Sammy Davis Jr. is cancelled.

APRIL 20, 1959 MONDAY

Louisiana-based Goldband Records released the first single by 13-year-old Dolly Parton, ''Puppy Love''.

Columbia released Lefty Frizzell's ''The Long Black Veil''.

APRIL 21, 1959 TUESDAY

Johnny Mathis recorded ''Misty'', destined to receive a country treatment when remade by Ray Stevens.

David Frizzell holds his first recording session for Columbia Records.

APRIL 23, 1959 THURSDAY

Record producer Michael Clute is born in Devils lake, North Dakota. He oversees a string of hits for BlackHawk and Diamond Rio.

APRIL 26, 1959 SUNDAY

''The Dinah Shore Chevy Show'' features an all-country lineup on NBC, with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Minnie pearl, Ernest Tubb and The Everly Brothers.

APRIL 27, 1959 MONDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Tennessee Stud'' at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee.

Sheena Easton is born in Glasgow, Scotland. Known for such pop hits as ''Modern Girl'', ''Stru'' and ''For Your Eyes Only'', she earns a number 1 country single when she teams with Kenny Rogers in 1983 on ''We've Got Tonight''.

Columbia released Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs ''Cabin In The Hill''.

Decca released The Wilburn Brothers' ''Somebody's Back In Town''.

Gebe Vincent's girlfriend, Darlene Hicks, delivers their daughter, Melody Jean, in Anchorage, Alaska.

"Don't Ever Leave Me" b/w ''Miracle Of You'' (Sun 320) by Ernie Chaffin is released.

APRIL 28, 1959 TUESDAY

MEMPHIS INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN AS RECORDING CENTER
by Edwin Howard, Memphis Press- Scimitar Amusement Editor, April 28, 1959.

On Jack Paar's Tonight show on TV last week, Broadway producer Leonard Stillman talked about the new edition of his periodic New faces revues coming up next fall.

''I'm going to audition in Memphis next week'', he told Paar. ''There's a lot of talent there''. The statement probably surprised no one in the vast television audience except Memphians. For, altho most Memphians are now aware that Elvis Presley is a person of some importance in the entertainment world, few realize that the city itself has, during the past five years, become one of the capitals of that world.

Cotton, hardwood flooring, plywood, mules, chemicals – these are the products traditionally mentioned in connection with Memphis. Not even the Chamber of Commerce seems to realize yet that recording and record manufacturing have given Memphis a major new industry with a total annual gross business of close to $10 million.

Since it is a popular art as well as an industry, it also brings Memphis priceless international publicity. It makes people such as producer Sillman talk about Memphis on network television. It has so influenced musical styles the world over that in Europe and Japan, record labels – as on the German version of ''Raunchy'' by Heinz Lips and the Seven Robins – often carry a line which says, ''As recorded in Memphis by
Sun''.

SUN THE FIRST - Sun Records, established six years ago by Sam C. Phillips, was Memphis' first record label. Today there are 14 active labels, and the business is growing so fast there may be more tomorrow. (As a matter of fact, one was added today, Elston Leanard read yesterday's story and called to say he and Hillburn ''Pappy'' Graves are going to start releasing records next week on the Fonofox, TV and commercial film producing firm at 1447 Union Avenue). To the size and importance of the recording business in Memphis is not generally realized, most Memphians do know that recording is done in Memphis. Very few know, however, that Memphis has the largest independent record manufacturing plant in the country.

Plastic Products Co., 1746 Chelsea, was established by Robert E. ''Buster'' Williams in 1949 in one Quonset hut at a cost of about $40,000. In 1959, Plastic Products it is bulging at the seams of four connected Quonsets, and Williams is building a branch plant in Coldwater, Mississippi, which will be twice the size of the present one. That last year, despite the recession, the company produced 15 million records for some 30 different companies, with a retail value of more than $20 million. Buster Williams, who lives with his family at 203 Lombardy, expects to press 25 million disks of all types - singles, LPs, EPs, and stereo. The growth of the recording business in Memphis has, of course, stimulated the growth of Plastic Products, but the Memphis labels account for only 10% of the company's volume.

Among the independent Eastern and Chicago the Memphis firm presses for are ABC Paramount, Cadence, Carleton, Chess, Checker, Argo, and Atlantic. Besides pressing for practically all the Memphis firms, it also produces records for labels in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Mobile, Shreveport, Jackson, Mississippi (home of Ace Records, which has had a couple of recent hits), Houston, Dallas, and Nashville.

130,000 CAPACITY - In 1959, the capacity of the Memphis plant is 80,000 records daily, and the Coldwater plant, altho unfinished, can already turn out an additional 50,000 a day. The Memphis plant employs about 100 persons. Plastic Products' records are distributed everywhere this side of the rocky Mountains and sometimes west of them, too. About 60% of its volume leaves the Memphis trade area.

Buster Williams, who started salting and selling peanuts at the age of 12 in his home town of Enterprise, Mississippi, and was the nation largest jukebox operator (18,000 machines) before going into record manufacture and distribution, also owns Music Sales in Memphis. It is the oldest independent record distributing firm in the country. Prior to that, the record business was dominated by the four ''major'' - RCA, Columbia, Decca and Capitol, which had their own distributors. There are a few other so called ''majors'' in 1959, but most of the companies established sine then are called independents. Williams, of course, is a champion of the independent recording companies. It was they, he points out, who developed vinyl as a disk material. ''And don't let anybody tell you RCA found Elvis'', he says with a note of hometown pride. ''Elvis wasn't lost. Sam Phillips had already made him a big star when they bought him''.

LOTS OF COMPETITION – Altho the Sun and Phillips International labels have produced the longest string of hits of any Memphis company, several of the newer companies are coming up fest. Pepper Records, which also records under Diane and Tom-Tom labels, is expecting big things for two disks released, ''Little Ole Man In The Well'' b/w ''Ooh Yeah, Baby'' by deep voiced Wayne Hefner on Tom-Tom, and ''Eight Wonder Of The World'' b/w Mary Me'' by Gerald Nelson on Diane. ''Build A Mountain'' by the Keynotes on Pepper has gotten good play and the girls' quartet is booked for an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show this Sunday. John Pepper, head of this company, is one of Memphis' best-known businessmen, and Floyd Huddleston, artist and repertoire director is composer of such hits as ''Island Queen''.

Fernwood ''Tragedy'' by Thomas Wayne is Memphis most recent million-seller, and the company has a new one out by Wayne titled ''Eternally'' which is off to a fast start. The Hi label is making an impressive showing with disks by three local lads – Kimball Coburn, Tommy Tucker and Joe Fuller.

One of the newest Memphis labels, Summer, has a promising disk going in ''Motorcycle Michael'' by the Achers. Lee, Cover, Albe, Meteor, and Stomper Time might score any time, and Bill Justis, who produced many of Sun and Phillips International's best sellers besides those he made with his own band, is almost certain to click with the something on his new Play Me label.

There have been a number of other Memphis labels which for one reason or another are no longer active. OJ Records had a national hit in \\White Silver Sands'', which sent Dave Gardner soaring to fame. A local wrangle over authorship of the song has tied up profits from it, however, and suspended OJ activities. OJ also launched former Memphis disc jockey Wink Martindale as a recording artist. His first record was featured in a movie and Dot records later bought his contract. King, Kay and Crystal are other Memphis labels no longer Spinning.

4 RECORDING STUDIOS – Altho there are 14 active labels, there are only 4 recording studios in Memphis. Still, this is a high ration when you consider such top eastern independents as ABC-Paramount and Mercury do not own studios but rent space in other companies. The Memphis studios are Pepper at 62 Diane Street; Sun Records at 706 Union Avenue; Royal Recording Studio (the Hi label) at 1320 South Lauderdale Street; and American Studio (the Albe label) on Second Street at Beale. The other Memphis companies use these facilities for their recording session on a rental basis. The newest Memphis studio is Pepper's last-word $50,000 facility. It is equipment to record -three-channel tape masters and with in a month will be cutting acetate masters on a German-made Nueman lathe, the best there is. Memphis companies now sent their tape masters to Chicago to have the acetate master cut. With this equipment, Pepper engineer Welton Jetton will be able take the three-channel tape masters and balance and mix them into one monaural master or into two masters for stereophonic reproduction.

SUN IS BUILDING – Work is nearing completion on new studios for Sun and Phillips International which will even larger than Pepper's and will also include multi-channel tape equipment and Neuman acetate cutting facilities. The recording business has, of course, been a boom to the Memphis Federation of Musicians. Up to now, more guitar players have been employed than anything else, but piano players, drummers and bass players have benefitted, too. And Bill Justis' band has become nationally known thru its recordings. Future Memphis recording promises to utilize even more and a greater variety of musicians. Jamison Brant's arrangements for Jack Hales' band, which provides most of the background for the Pepper, Diane and Tom-Tom labels, liberally utilize Nick Vergos' oboe and Jim Terry's flute. And that's a long way from Elvis!

APRIL 29, 1959 WEDNESDAY

HE'S MADE $2 MILLION ON DISKS - WITHOUT A DESK
Story of Sam Phillips, Memphis Recording Pioneer
by Edwin Howard Memphis Press-Scimitar Amusement Editor, April 29, 1959

Behind the dusty, bent Venetian blinds in a three desk office at 706 Union stands the man who in six years had brought a brand-new industry to Memphis, and helped make Memphis a leader in that industry. The man is Sam C. Phillips. The office is identified only by a small neon sign in the window which says Memphis Recording Service. The man stands because, altho he has made roughly $2 million for himself in those six years, he has no desk at which to sit down. Even without a desk, Phillips somehow manages to run 11 corporations from the building at 706 Union, which consists of a tiny reception room (two desks), a studio which doubles as a mailing room, a control room with attached half-bath, a promotion office (one desk), and a storage room. Keystone of the vest-pocket empire is Sun Record Company, which started Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny cash on their way to fame and fortune, and made Memphis the rock and roll capital of the world. The same little studio is the home of Phillips International Records, which introduced Bill Justis and a million' selling record called ''Raunchy'' to the world.

SWANKY NEW OFFICES – One day within the next two months, however, Sun and Phillips International and related firms will be moving to swanky new studios nearby. ''Because we ran out of corners for corporations'', Phillips has luxurious new offices and the last word in recording facilities under construction at 639 Madison Avenue. The new studios, which will be available for use by other companies as well as used for Sun and Phillips International releases, should be ready by summer, Phillips said. He is personally supervising the construction and the installation of electronic equipment, while at the same time tending to his oil interest in Illinois, his zinc and lead mines in Arkansas, and his other financial interests, including the Holiday Inns stock, the Memphis all-girl radio station, WHER, and the new all-girl station, WLIZ, which he is opening in Lake Worth, Florida, adjoining Palm Beach and West Palm Beach.

The Phillipses live at 79 South Mendenhall, Sam, his wife Becky, and their two sons, Knox and Jerry, for whom two of his music publishing companies are named. (There are five publishing companies in all, the others being Hi-Lo Music, Jack Clement Music, and Justis Music. Jack Clement and Bill Justis are partners in the last two). Some have wondered why Phillips never dressed up the studio at 706 Union or hung out a sign identifying it as the Sun Record Company. After all, it has been five years since Sun began its swift rise in the record firmament, and three years since it reached its apex. Sam Phillips has several reasons.

OUT OF PROPORTION - ''I don't know. I just felt like if I put up a bug sign on this little building, or tried to fancy it up, it would look all out of proportion. There's something about that little Memphis Recording Service sign that just goes with it. As for a desk for myself, well, I'm not the kind that runs things by hangin' on a desk, so I didn't figure I needed one. Anyhow, I've got four girls and a man at three desks we do have that know how to handle all the desk work''. Sally Wilbourn, Barbara Barnes, Regina Reese, Marion Keisker, and Sales Manager Cecil Scaife. Everyone around here has a smattering of knowledge of the whole business. And I've got no secrets. Plenty of times, I've talked thousands of dollars worth of business with 10 or 12 people squeezed into the same room doing different things. Allegiances and enthusiasm are what gives us our efficiency. And our informality is what gives us hit records. Out artists get the feeling we're just goofin' around as I tell 'em, there's no sence being nervous, because there's nobody else here that can do any better''. Sam himself makes no bones about being a country boy. He was born on a farm near Florence, Alabama. In the evenings on the farm and later in town with an old negro who worked for the family, Uncle Silas, would pull Sam into his knee and sing to him.

UNCLE SILAS' SONGS – Little Sam's favorite song, both rhythmical and funny, was about a trip to Africa where ''they got battercake trees, and right next to them sausage trees. We gonna pick us some of those fluffy battercakes an' some of those juicy sausages an' go down to Molasses River an' have ourselves a time''. ''Uncle Silas lived with us from the time I was 12 till I was 17'', Sam recalls, ''and practically raised me. He'd tell me those fantastic stories and sing me those funny songs, and man it just fascinated me''!

Sam never outgrew his fascination with the rhythms and nonsense of the negro, altho other musical styles crowded it out for a while. At 17, he went to work for a Muscle Shoals radio station as engineer-announcer, then moved to WLAC in Nashville, where he learned to appreciate the so-called hillbilly form of folk music. In 1945, he moved to Memphis and an engineering job with WREC. ''I used to handle those Peabody band feeds (to the CBS network) and man, did I get tired of listening to the same old arrangements over and over''. In order to hear and share with others, some of the different kinds of music he liked. Sam persuaded the station management to let him have his own record program on Saturday afternoon – the Saturday Afternoon Tea Dance show which Fred Cook has continued. Sam not only played music, he talked about it avidly and articulately and developed a large, faithful following.

STARTING RECORDING – At the end of 1949, while still working for WREC, Sam started putting some of his strong musical tastes into practice. In his spare time, he cut so-called rhythm and blues records in Memphis, leasing the master tapes to some of the independent record companies which were springing up in
other cities, such as Chess, RPM and Modern, among the Memphis negro artists he helped start on their way were B.B. King, Rosco Gordon, Little Junior Parker, Jackie Brenston, and many more. ''It got so you could sell a half-million copies of rhythm and blues records'', Sam said. ''These records appealed to white youngsters just as ''Uncle Silas'' songs and stories appeal to me. To city-born white children who had never had an Uncle Silas, it was something new, and it became their nonsense – like faily tales. But there was something in many of these youngsters that resisted buying this kind of music, the southern ones, especially, felt a resistance that even they probably didn't quite understand they liked the music, but they weren't sure whether they ought to like it or not. So I got to thinking how many records you could sell if you could find white performers who could play and sing in this same exciting, alive way'' As the whole world knows, he found him.

THEN CAME ELVIS – In 1952 and later re-started in January of 1953, his own Sun Record company, giving Memphis the first of its presents 14 record labels, a few months later, a young truck driver came in to use the Memphis Recording Service facilities to make a record for his own. He sounded so distinctive that Sam wrote down his name and address and kept an ear out for material for him to record for Sun. Early in the summer of 1954, Elvis Presley – and Sun Records – were on their way with a disc called ''That's All Right'' b/w ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''.

Elvis was first classified as a hillbilly – or country music, as the phrase had become – artist. He guessed on the Louisiana Hayride and Grand Ole Opry shows. But he was not the conventional country-type singer. Marion Keisker, who constituted Phillips' office staff ten, called him ''a hillbilly cat''. What his style really stemmed sung to negro and rhythm tunes. One reason Memphis became the capital of this music, which came to be called rock and roll, was that Nashville, already a recording center, snubbed it. ''They not only snubbed it'', declares Phillips. ''They fought it. With the Grand Ole Opry there, they were committed to country music. They didn't think rock and roll would last, and they did all they could to kill it. Finally, of course, they realized they couldn't lick it, so the joined it. The old established Grand Ole Opry stars got so they couldn't draw the crowds anymore unless they had rock and roll artists with them. Eventually, the Opry's two top executives resigned and went into the rock and roll publishing business. But in the meantime, Memphis had become the rock and roll recording capital of the world. Even tho Nashville has come around, We're still neck and neck with them as the country's fourth or fifth biggest recording center in actual number of session held''.

WHY HE SOLD ELVIS – The question most often asked Phillips is, doesn't he regret selling Elvis Presley's contract. ''Never'', he says firmly. ''Selling that contract gave us the capital we desperately needed at the time for expansion. The record business isn't like any other branch in show business. You can borrow money to produce a movie or a play, but not a record. The record business is so precarious, you can't get financial backing until you don't need it. I had gotten a lot of offers for Elvis' contract, but I had turned them all down till I learned RCA was interested. I asked them just twice what I thought they'd pay – about $40,000 – for the contract and all the masters. To understand why I have never regretted the decision, you have to remember something. At that time, most of the experts thought Elvis was a flash-in-the-pan. Even RCA wasn't sure they had made a good deal. We had Carl Perkins ''Blue Suede Shoes'' just out then, and RCA wondered for several months if they had bought the wrong contract. Of course, the sale turned out to be tremendous for RCA, and it gave us what we needed then – proof that we weren't one shot flukes, financing for expansion, and good credit. A total pressing bill of $150,000 at our three pressing plants (in Memphis, Los Angeles and Philadelphia) isn't unusual, so you've got to have good credit.

ROCK AND ROLL NOT DEAD – ''No'', says Phillips. ''The kids got tired of some of the ''typical'' rock and roll, but I think they've shown they don;t want any big change. We're keeping the flavor and modifying the best and the lyrics a little. Yet you still have one of those wild ''Stagger Lee'' type of things every now and then. No, rock and roll isn't dead. We'll feel its influence for a long time to come''.

IS SUN COMMITTED TO THIS KIND OF MUSIC? - ''Not exclusively, no. The reason we're building the new studio is to make more EPs (Extended Play) and LPs (Long Play), a better grade of pop, and to get into stereo, which is just getting started good. We'll continue rock and roll, but we're broadening our scope. We have to consider the fact that 60 percent of the record business is now on EPs and LPs. To get into this end of the business, out outlay will be more and our return slower, but at the same time we'll be stabilizing our product. I believe the record business is still in its embryonic stage. It will continue to grow and develop, and with our new studios we expect to grow and develop along with it''.

''A lot of people thought we were thru after Elvis. We came up with Carl Perkins. They thought we were finished when we had some bad luck and began to fade. We came up with Jerry Lee Lewis. Then Bill Justis. And altho Johnny cash is no longer with us, we're still bringing out new singles by him and we have two LP albums and three EPs that are consistent top sellers. If people don't realize it by now, let me say it one more time. We're in this business to stay''.

This article appeared in the April 29, 1959 edition of the Memphis Press-Scimitar for posterity.

WLIZ Radio, was a religious all-girls station licensed to Lake Worth, Florida from 1975 until the mid 1980s. The station first went on the air in 1959 and was owned by record producer Sam Phillips. Sam named WLIZ for Elizabeth Taylor because "she was the hottest female going in 1959''. The station was run entirely by women, both onthe-air and management positions, something Phillips had tried previously at WHER in Memphis.

The allgirl WLIZ played show tunes, ballads and light jazz but no rock and roll, odd given the fact that its owner played such a huge part in rock history. By 1988 the station had changed its calls to WLVS. Currently 1380 AM is a Regional Mexican station "Radio Fiesta" WWRF.

Sam Phillips made the fourteen-hour drive a number of times over the next few months, taking the family on vacation to Dayton Beach in April (he loved the sun and sand, observed his son Jerry, eleven at the time, but he thought beaches make people lazy, but whether he was in Florida or Memphis, he was never far removed from the challenge of putting the new station on the air. The whole family drove the two hundred miles from Dayton Beach to Lake worth to see the new studio, and Sam stayed on there after the family went home. Dottie Abbott, Sam's first hire at WHER and still program director, was screening job applicants while helping to establish the same format in Florida that had proved so successful in Memphis, The call letters for the new station were WLIZ, in tribute, Sam said, to film star Elizabeth Taylor, a glamorous symbol of female success, and the station's slogan when it went on the air at the end of May was ''You'll love LOZ, LIZ loves you''.

''It's an axiom in radio, based on painful experience, that lady announcers don't have what it takes'', was the lead for Billboard's June 1 story on WLIZ debut. ''Last week, a certain rule-buster.. Sam Phillips by the name, opened a new station in Lake Worth, Florida... He made the move with serene confidence because three years ago in his home town of Memphis, Phillips opened a 1,000-watter, named it WHER, staffed it entirely with 'femsees', and sent quivers thru the town that have still not let up''. Billboard puzzled over this, but, really, there was no mystery about it. For Sam, diversification alone offered any hope of success in the music business as it was currently constituted. The way Sam saw it, much of the point of the ''payola'' hearings that were still going on in Washington was to put the little man out of business, with one easy way being to charge collusion on the part of any independent record manufactured who had the temerity to acquire his own radio stations and then left himself open to the accusation of ''self-dealing'' by playing music in which he had a financial interest.

But, as Sam had pointed out in his voluntary testimony to Congress the previous April, while nearly all of the songs in Sam's publishing catalogues were registered with BMI, not only had his radio station played none of his own songs but nearly 8- percent of the songs that it played were registered with ASCAP.

In addition, he offered a ringing defense of capitalism and creative diversity (''I am sure that this Committee is aware of the fact that 'creative talent's not limited to a group or class, but rather to the genius of the individual'', which had been greatly encouraged by BMI's ''broad ad divergent mode of operation'') while stressing the punitive nature of forcing the independent entrepreneur to divest himself of assets that the big corporations could retain. ''I respectfully submit'', he concluded, ''that the passage of this proposed legislation would... be an unnecessary and discriminatory barrier to the freedom of individuals, such as myself, to engage in lawful competitive enterprise'', and he was clearly determined to hold on to that same freedom now.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Early in March 1959 producer and instrumentalist, Bill Justis, departed from Sun for pastures new. He returned briefly just a few weeks later to fulfill his contractual obligations and recorded one final single, the reverb-laden ''Flea Circus''. His reticence to control budgeting costs had been at the heart of the problem and with eight players present, this session was no exception. Some token respite was gained from the track being recorded at one of Memphis' cut-price jingle studios.

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILL JUSTIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

OR PROBABLY PEPPER-TANNER STUDIO
2076 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY THURSDAY APRIL 30, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

This is the final session under Bill Justis' name. By the time it appeared in July 1959, Bill Justis had left Sun to pursue an independent music career.

01 - "CLOUD NINE" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Charlie Rich
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 354 - Master
Recorded: - Probably April 30, 1959
Released: - July 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single > PI 3544-B < mono
CLOUD NINE / FLEA CIRCUS
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806-1-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6

"Cloud Nine" might have been subtitled "Billy Vaughn meets Charlie Rich". Its really a beautiful tune featuring Rich's soaring piano and Justis altoish harmonies. An interesting solo piano version of this tune by composer Rich is worth comparing to the arrangement issued under Justis' name. The spirit of pianist Eddie Heywood ("Canadian Sunset") looms large over the session, although Rich's chord changes during the release are both original and truly heavenly.

02 - "FLEA CIRCUS" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Steve Cropper-Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 353 - Master
Recorded: - Probably April 30, 1959
Released: - July 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single > PI 3544-A < mono
FLEA CIRCUS / CLOUD NINE
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806-1-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6

''Flea Circus" must have been a lot of fun to record. The spirit is quite contagious. The first three verses repeat the simple riff, adding one note to the harmony each time. Its only with Justis' sax solo and the truly awful guitar break (whether by Roland Janes or Sid Manker) that things start to unravel. The hand clapping percussive verse at the end almost redeems the side.

03 - "COUNTRY ROCK" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably April 30, 1959

04 - "LITTLE SIOUX" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably April 30, 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Sid Lapworth or Vernon Drane - Saxophone
Roland Janes - Guitar
Sid Manker - Guitar
Cliff Acred - Bass
Charlie Rich - Piano
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
Billy Riley - Unknown

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILL JUSTIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

OR PROBABLY PEPPER-TANNER STUDIO
2076 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

01 - "SCUTTLEBUTT"
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s)

02 - "GUDDYVILLE" - B.M.I. 2:24
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s)
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample-12 mono
BILL JUSTIS - SELECTED HITS

03 - "TUFF"
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s)

04 - "THE SNUGGLE" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s)
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample-18 mono
BILL JUSTIS - SELECTED HITS

05 - "TRANQUIL" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s)
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample-2 mono
BILL JUSTIS - SELECTED HITS

06 - ''TRANQUILER''
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s)

07 - "TRANQUILIZER"
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s)

08 - "SCROUNGIE"
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s)

''Scroungle'' appears to have been taped over undubbed Roy Orbison masters.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Unknown Group

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

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