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1959 SESSIONS (5)
May 1, 1959 to May 31, 1959

Studio Session for Charlie Rich, May 25, 26, 1959 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jerry Lee Lewis, Probably May 28, 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 - ©

MAY 1959

Things began to look up for Sun Records and Phillips International as Cecil Scaife prepared to make his next major foray to promote a new record. This time, it was ''Mona Lisa'', by Sun's new artist, Carl Mann, who had put one of Sun's records on the charts. Carl Mann was only sixteen when he arrived at Sun, but he had been playing piano with bands around his hometown of Huntingdon, Tennessee, for some time. His particular specialty to be covering popular tunes and giving them a rocking beat, sometimes with a little Latin flavor, too.

It happened that Conway Twitty came in to visit Cecil, who at that time played for him a tape Carl had cut on the Nat King Cole tune. ''Mona Lisa''. The upshot was that, before long, Conway Twitty had released ''Mona Lisa'' done in a manner similar to the Carl Mann version Sun had in the can. Sam Phillips had not been eager to release the tune, but when the Twitty record started up the charts, he reconsidered. Cecil took the record to the national Disk Jockey Convention in Miami in May, and some clever promotion on his part launched the Carl Mann version, which then went to number 25 on the Billboard charts, topping Conway Twitty's version.

MAY 1, 1959 FRIDAY

Hawkshaw Hawkins sings a recording contract with Columbia Records. During the ensuing two-year association, Hawkins earns a hit for the label with ''Soldier's Joy''.

MAY 4, 1959 MONDAY

Randy Traywick is born at Memorial Hospital in Monroe, North Carolina. As Randy Travis, his rich baritone is a signature sound in the New Traditionalist movement of the late-1980s. Among his hits, ''On The Other Hand'' and ''Forever And Ever, Amen''.

At the first Grammy awards presentation, The Kingston Trio's ''Tom Dooley'' wins Best Country and Western Performance. The folk record, which never made the country chart, beats two Everly Brothers singles, plus Don Gibson and Jimmie Rodgers.

Columbia released Stonewall Jackson's ''Waterloo''.

MAY 5, 1959 TUESDAY

The city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, votes to incorporate. The government-built town, where the first atomic bomb was developed, has already become the namesake gospel music's The Oak Ridge Quartet, destined to become The Oak Ridge Boys.

MAY 6, 1959 WEDNESDAY

Hawkshaw Hawkins recorded ''Soldier's Joy''.

Wynn Stewart recorded the first version of ''Above And Beyond'', which becomes a hit the following year for Buck Owens.

MAY 11, 1959 MONDAY

Decca released Kitty Wells' ''Your Wild Life's Gonna Get You Down''.

MAY 13, 1959 WEDNESDAY

Johnny Horton recorded a special version of ''The Battle Of New Orleans'' for England, replacing ''We fought the bloody British'' with ''We fought the bloomin' rebels''.

The Jordanaires join poet Carl Sandburg as guests on the NBC variety series ''The Milton Berle Show''.

MAY 15, 1959 FRIDAY

Webb Pierce recorded the Mel Tillis-penned ''I Ain't Never'' at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee.

MAY 16, 1959 SATURDAY

The Everly Brothers' Don Everly and his wife, Mary Sue, have a daughter, Venetia Ember Everly, in Nashville, Tennessee.

MAY 18, 1959 MONDAY

Kitty Wells and Webb Pierce recorded as duo ''Finally''.

The Crickets recorded the original version of ''I Fought The Law'', written by group member Sonny Curtis. It's destined to become a country hit for Hank Williams Jr. almost 20 years later.

A history lesson makes history as Johnny Horton's recording of ''The Battle Of New Orleans'' goes to number 1 on the Billboard country single chart.

MAY 20, 1959 WEDNESDAY

Faron Young recorded ''Country Girl'', written by Roy Drusky, at Nashville's Bradley Film and Recording Studio.

Susan Cowshill is born in Newport, Rhode Island. The only daughter in the family pop group The Cowsills, she contributes to a trio of the late-1960s hits, including ''Indian Lake'', which Freddy Weller revamps for country customers in the 1970s.

MAY 21, 1959 THURSDAY

Carl Smith recorded the Mel Tillis-penned ''Ten Thousand Drums'' at the Bradley Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.

MAY 22, 1959 FRIDAY

Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters buys Seattle radio station KVI.

MAY 23, 1959 SATURDAY

Priscilla Beaulieu graduates from junior high school in Austin, Texas, just before she meets Elvis Presley in West Germany.

MAY 25, 1959 MONDAY

Johnny Horton and his historical hit ''The Battle Of New Orleans'' are featured in both Time magazine and Newsweek.

MAY 1959

SUN-LINERS - SUN-LINERS - SUN-LINERS

Scandal Sheet of Sun Records published by Sun's editor Barbara Barnes that reads:

Industry Readying For DJ Convention. Big news of the season is, of course, the convention in Miami the last weekend in May. Everybody says that its going to be a big one - in attendance and in new ideas introduced. Two or three of us from PI will be on hand, and we sure hope to see you!

Our newest artist is Edwin Howard, and he's a newspaper reporter, but that doesn't mean he can't sing. His record has been out only one day, at this writing, and our Memphis distributor called very excitedly this morning to report that his juke box operators are going nuts over the side called, "Forty Leven Times". This is a modern-day "Barbry Allen" - pleasingly different.

The other side is an updated, and somewhat popularized version of "More Pretty Girls Than One". Since he's a free large magazine writer entertainment editor of the local daily, Edwin Howard has capitalized on the possibilities for publicity, NEA Features and a popular fan magazine have had big spreads.

We think his record quite as good as his stories. Since we're looking for reaction, would surely appreciate hearing from you're your opinion of the record.

Mona Lisa. A few months back, we had a kid from Jackson, Tennessee, in for his first session, and he did his own rock version of the old standard, "Mona Lisa". Conway Twitty was visiting Sam Phillips that day, and the next thing we knew, this new style "Mona Lisa" was in the Conway Twitty album.

Then we put out our single, cut by an unknown, Carl Mann. Scattered reaction was reported, and then a trend was set in Buffalo. Thanks to our good friends in Buffalo - especially Dick Biondi and George :Hound Dog" Lorenz - this number got all kinds of exposure and its broken wide open in this market.

At this time - it seems to be moving west. Charted in Rochester - doing well in Philadelphia - re-orders out of Detroit, etc. Its going to be a smash! Breaking a record is a very exciting thing to do! We want to thank the disc jockeys who've helped us thus far - and to the boys in the other markets where the record hasn't gotten off the ground, we would like to give you this tip about a "record to watch" and ask you please to give it a few spins, if you like it.

Comment-Able Items:

WHEY (Millington, Tennessee) jock makes movie! George Klein does a bit in the new MGM flick, Home From The Hills, which stars Robert Mitchum and was shot in part in nearby Oxford, Mississippi. Jack Taylor and Harry Reimer of Jather Distributing (Minneapolis) stopped one day on a recent auto trip to Florida. We enjoyed seeing them... J.B. Lloyd's "I'm So Lonely" on the Memphis label, Hi, is getting reaction... Bill Justis, former PI exec., now heads his own diskery, Play Me Records... Bob Shellady's rag, KXIC Kilocycle Kapers, keeps us posted on happenings in Iowa City... Congrats to Jim MacKrell, on his new post as p.d. at KLRA, Little Rock... Good to hear from Chuck Taylor, Jonesville, Louisiana, disc jockey via Cecil... Why does everybody at Mutual Broadcasting go by initials only? Mail coming in from one T.J. followed by some from D.D. Wha-a-a-a-a-T!

Wink Martindale

KHJ
Los Angeles

The PI hat is off this month to a "local boy made good", Wink Martindale. The progress of his career has been phenomenal. At 24, Wink has reached an enviable position as disc jockey etc.

It all started back in the old home town of Jackson, Tennessee, where Wink was a teen-age disc jockey. Later, he came to Memphis and got a spot on WHBQ radio. Then he became the host of WHBQ-TV's very popular "Dance Party" show. Along with all this, Wink found time to attend Memphis University and to marry his childhood sweetheart, Madelyn. He also got a yen to make records, and signed with Dot. Filmland called, and Wink did a stint as m.c. of a movie featuring rock and roll talent.

Now Wink has joined KHL, Los Angeles, where he does his morning bit, The Clock-Watchers Show". He likes the Coast, and hopes to remain there permanently. A Saturday TV "Dance Party", similar to the original, is in the offing, and the Martindales' third baby is on the way.

Naturally, we at Sun feel close to Wink, since he was around for so long, and this is our way of wishing him "all the best" in this new phase of his career.

MAY 25, 1959

KWAM full time country music radio station published his country and western Top 30:

01. Battle Of New Orleans - Johnny Horton
02. You'll Never Be A Stranger To Me - Eddie Bond
03. I Couldn't Care Less - Don Gibson
04. Man In Love - Tommy Tucker
05. Only The Tender Young Heart - Hal Willis
06. A Thousand Miles Ago - Webb Pierce
07. You Dreamer You - Johnny Cash
08. I Heard My Heart Break - Hank Snow
09. I'm Gonna Sing - Porter Wagoner
10. Boo Bop Da Caa Caal - Eddie Bond
11. You Have This And More - Ronnie Moore
12. Heartaches By The Number - Ray Price
13. Total Strangers - Hank Thompson
14. Oh, Cindy - Kingston Trio
15. Scandalizing My Name - Thomas Wayne
16. Draggin' The River - Ferlin Husky
17. I'll Be Alright - J.B. Lloyd
18. Chip Off The Old Block - Eddie Arnold
19. Forty Leven Times - Edwin Howard
20. I Want You To Know - Johnny Moore
21. Move Over - Eddie Hill and Billie Morgan
22. Waterloo - Stonewall Jackson
23. Long Black Veil - Lefty Frizzell
24. Leopard Man - Joe Wallace
25. Black Land Farmer - Frankie Miller
26. Just This Side Of Memphis - Red Foley
27. Three Thousand Miles - Navel Felts
28. Travelin' Man - - Red Foley
29. Tijuana Jail - Kinston Trio
30. I had To Let You Go - Tex Dixon

Top Country and Western Albums

01. When Tragedy Struck - Hank Snow
02. This Is Faron Young
03. Marty Robbins

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR CHARLIE RICH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1958
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY MAY 25, 
AND TUESDAY MAY 26, 1959
OR JUNE 26, 1959
PRODUCER - BILL JUSTIS AND/OR CHARLIE RICH
RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
01 - "SAIL AWAY" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Charlie Rich
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 25, 26, 1959
Released: - Sun Unissued
First appearance: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16152-2-12 mono
LONELY WEEKENDS - THE SUN YEARS 1958 - 1962
 
It is hard to know what anyone was thinking when Jerry Lee and Charlie entered the studio and recorded two unissued duets on May 26, 1959. It is clear that Ray Smith's version of this Charlie Rich tune (featuring a vocal duet with guitarist Stanley Walker) had been recorded and released months earlier, which further beggs the question of why Rich and Lewis would have bothered bringing their distinctive vocal styles to this material. In fact, considering their pronounced stylistic differences, it is remarkable that Rich and Lewis produced such a cohesive effort.
 
02(1) - "AM I TO BE THE ONE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Otis Blackwell-R. Stevenson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 1 - Duet Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis
Recorded: - May 25, 26, 1959 - Sun Unissued
 
02(2) - "AM I TO BE THE ONE" - B.M.I. 
Composer: - Otis Blackwell-R. Stevenson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 2 - Duet Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis
Recorded: - May 25, 26, 1959 – Sun Unissued
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Rich - Vocal and Piano
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Guitar
Leo Ladner - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
 
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 - ©

MAY 26, 1959 TUESDAY

Keyboard player Dave Robbins is born in Atlanta, Georgia. A co-writer of Restless Heart's ''The Bluest Eyes In Texas'', he becomes on-third of the harmony-intensive group BlackHawk, scoring a series of hook-laden hits in the 1990s.

MAY 31, 1959 SUNDAY

Pop singer Bobby Darin performs ''Dream Lover'' on ''The Ed Sullivan Show''. The song becomes a country hit a dozen years later for Billy ''Crash'' Craddock.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JERRY LEE LEWIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: THURSDAY MAY 28, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS AND/OR BILL JUSTIS

There were some monumental battles of ego whenever Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry appeared on the same bill during the 1950s. Their nightly dispute usually centered on who was the "real" headliner and who would get to close the show. On those nights when the nod went to Chuck, Jerry Lee would do his damndest to wear out the audience before turning them over.

Chuck Berry's version of "Little Queenie"" had just risen to its rather lowly peak of 80 when Jerry Lee scheduled a session especially to record it. A few weeks earlier, Jerry's wife Myra, had written to the fan club secretary, Kay Martin, asking her to find a copy of Chuck's record for Jerry's mother, Mamie. "I suppose you know", Myra wrote, "that next to Jerry, Chuck Berry is her very favorite". On May 25, three days before Jerry's session, Myra wrote back to Kay, Thanks loads for "Little Queenie".

Mrs Lewis is just mad about Chuck Berry... (but) ever since he tried to beat up Jerry I haven't liked him a bit. If I'm not mistaken, Jerry wrapped a chair around his head... Don't get me wrong, I think Chuck is a very talented Negro''. Have you ever seen him put on a live show? That is one Negro that can flat put on a show!. Apparently, "Little Queenie" was heard so often around the Lewis household that Jerry decided to record it so that his mother would play something by a very talented white boy.

Quite how ''Little Queenie'' could be mastered with such extemporaneous ease whereas ''Let's Talk About Us'' proved so troublesome is something of a mystery. It might well be, of course, that any number of rehearsals and alternates of Jerry Lee's reading of Chuck Berry's song were discarded and recorded over; a fate which similarly may have befallen tapes used during the production of the equally accomplished ''Mean Woman Blues'' a couple of years before. (*)

01 - "LITTLE QUEENIE" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Chuck Berry
Publisher: - Arc Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 376 - Master
Recorded: - May 28, 1959
Released: - September 15, 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single > Sun 330-A < mono
LITTLE QUEENIE / I COULD NEVER BE ASHAMED OF YOU
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-1-3 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4

In February 1989, Jerry Lee Lewis flew into the United Kingdom along with his portraying actor, Dennis Quaid, to help promote the glitzy biopic, Great Balls Of Fire. As part of the general hoopla, Jerry Lee checked into the Westbury Hotel in central London, the location where he'd stayed during his first visit to the country in 1958. It was there that we got to discuss numerous aspects of his intriguing career, particularly the way in which the classic Chuck Berry song "Little Queenie" entered the Lewis repertoire.
"Little Queenie" of course, is a song written and performed by Chuck Berry. It appeared on the 1959 album ''Chuck Berry Is On Top'' and was released as a double A-side with "Almost Grown" (Chess 1722). The song peaked at number 80 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Berry performed the song in the movies ''Go, Johnny Go!'' (1959) and ''Hail! Hail! Rock 'N' Roll'' (1987). It has been covered by many artists, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and REO Speedwagon. One year earlier a Christmas song using the same melody had been released by Berry with the title "Run Rudolph Run".

Allmusic calls the song an "incredible rock and roll anthem" and "one of the greatest dance and sex ritualistic classics''. It is included on many of Berry's greatest hits compilations, including ''The Great Twenty-Eight'' and ''Chuck Berry's Golden Decade''.

According to eminent author Mark Lewisohn in "The Complete Beatles Chronicles" (p. 363) The Beatles performed "Little Queenie" live from at least 1960 till 1963 (in Liverpool and Hamburg and elsewhere) with Paul McCartney on lead vocal. An audience recording of it was made (in December 1962) and is on live at the Star-Club in Hamburg, West Germany; 1962. Per author Doug Sulpy in "Drugs, Divorce And Slipping Image" (sec. 22.26) during the massive ''Get Back'' sessions John Lennon did lead vocal on a fairly brief version of it. Paul McCartney and Wings guitarist Denny Laine recorded a loose jam of it the early 1970s.

The Rolling Stones also frequently performed the song live, and a version recorded in November 1969 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, appears on ''Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert''. Other artists who have covered the song include Jerry Lee Lewis for Sun Records, the Kinks, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, the Velvet Underground, Eric Burdon, Johnny Moped, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Johnny Thunders, Savoy Brown, Jan Berry and REO Speedwagon.

'Little Queenie" is mentioned in "Dance Franny Dance", a regional hit in 1964 for the Texas band The Floyd Dakil Combo, "She's Our Little Queenie, Princess of the U.S.A.". The song helped to inspire Marc Bolan to write the T. Rex song "Get It On", which quotes "Little Queenie" as it fades out, "And meanwhile, I'm still thinking...".

02 - "INTERVIEW JERRY LEE LEWIS" - B.M.I. - 0:58
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-8-6 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002

Egotism is one thing, but commercial exigencies are another, and its hard to fathom the reason for releasing a record that had already failed within recent weeks. One can only assume that if it had succeeded it would have been a big metaphorical finger in the face of a certain very talented negro. And if there had been any justice, it would have succeeded. Jerry hits a fine groove, and resurrects the voice-over narrative technique ("Meanwhile, I's still thinkin'") he had used to great effect on "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". And how ironic that girls who weren't "a minute over seventeen" would prove the undoing of both Jerry and Chuck.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
Leo Ladner - Bass

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

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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 - ©