FOREWORD

The original SUN BLUES BOX was issued, on vinyl only, in 1986. It was an impressive, state-of-the-art 9-LP set, comprising 151 tracks (including some fifty previously unreleased sides) and came with a comprehensive, illustrated, and fully annotated 44-page booklet. Compiler/co-ordinator/annotator Martin Hawkins had clearly done an excellent job with the material and information available to him at that time, and for many years it stood unchallenged as the benchmark for excellence in the world of blues reissues.

However, the unremitting onslaught of CD and continued research into Sun's session files have gradually served to render it obsolete. Consequently, when the time came to reissue the set on CD, we decided to revise, update, and radically expand it. The major changes are:

- the Gospel and Vocal Group sides have been dropped.
- 40-odd alternate takes and rarities have been added.
- ditto 31 sides previously unreleased anywhere in the world.
- we have pushed the parameters back further to 1958, by including four sides which Sam Phillips licensed in from Ike Turner.
- the entire compilation has been sequenced chronologically -

This revised set now comprises an awe-inspiring 202 tracks, presented on 8 CD's. In general, the balance struck on the original boxed set has been retained, with artists like Howlin' Wolf, Little Milton and Rosco Gordon having rather less sides included pro rata, as their work is so readily available elsewhere. The inclusion of the rare and previously unreleased material has facilitated the addition of several artists "new" the the Sun Box: viz Woodrow Adams, Kenneth Banks, Shy Guy Douglas and Elven Parr's In The Groove Boys.

Martin Hawkins' and Colin Escott's informative original notes, essays, and annotations have been largely retained, but expanded, corrected, and updated - notably the chapter on Sam Phillips and the Independent Record Industry, which we have liberally expanded with extracts drawn directly from the 1992 reprint of messrs Escott & Hawkins' own Good Rockin' Tonight (Virgin) - a book which cannot be too highly recommended. We have likewise endeavoured to retain the spirit of the original liner notes and biogs (written variously by Martin Hawkins, Colin Escott, Hank Davis, Bez Turner, and Rob Bowman), which have likewise been expanded, corrected, and updated.

The keynote to the original compilers' presentation was the ''scholarship and reverence'' which they brought to it. Whilst we wholeheartedly applaud the sincerity of their intentions, we would like to think that this enhanced and refurbished presentation of one of the finest blues catalogues in the world actually restores some of the fun and irreverence which the original artists brought to Sam Phillips' studio. Do keep that in
mind as the hours roll by.

Neil Slaven & Roger Dopson (January 1996)

INTRODUCTION

This Booklet includes
- extensive interviews with Sam Phillips and many of the musicians he recorded -
- an overview piece covering Sun's blues and rhythm and blues recordings -
- Biographical information on all featured artists -
- a fully detailed and annotated Session File covering all 202 sides -
- illustrations and memorabilia relevant to the period -
- an Alphabetical Index, laid out track-by-track -

The purpose of this Boxed Set - now, as in its original incarnation - is to present a detailed, comprehensive a picture of the wealth of blues and rhythm and blues music recorded by Sam Phillips in Memphis during the fifties. We have endeavoured to reflect the development of both the blues and rhythm and blues styles characteristic of Memphis and the mid-south during this period, and have also overlaid within the session file details of some of Phillips' business and contractuat dealings and problems concerning many of these very artists and recordings.

Included here are many of the landmark recordings made by Phillips between 1950-1952 for leading Indie labels like RPM and Chess, as well as the blues and rhythm and blues titles which originally appeared on the legendary Sun label. Virtually all the commercially successful and/or stylistically important artists who passed through Phillips' Union Street studios are represented herein, and some seventy sides unobtainable at the time of the release of the original Sun Blues Box have been added - notably those by Doctor Ross, Walter Horton, Coy ''Hot Shot'' Love and Billy ''Red'' Love. As with the original Sun Box, this body of work serves to highlight the contributions of session players and a number of lesser-known sidemen.

With the explosion of the reissues market during the seventies and eighties - and interest in the blues currently standing perhaps at its zenith - there is far more Sun material available at any one time nowadays than there ever was in the fifties. Even allowing for alternate takes, a great many of the sides included here were never given a commercial release at the time they were recorded: in fact, the bulk of these sides were never actually intended for commercial consumption. However, once again we have included alternate takes of several previously issued sides, which should provoke interesting comparisons with some of the well-travelled material.

As stated in the foreword, we have sequenced this collection chronologically - or rather, as chronologically as Sun's session files will allow. Although Sam Phillips certainly kept better written session records than any other studio/label boss of his era, there is a certain element of guesswork and extrapolation involved. If there are any great discrepancies, then they are probably our own.

But in the final analysis, the intention is that this package should stand as a tribute to and serve as a near-definitive account of Sam Phillips' early recording activities. And we hope that the inclusion of the previously unheard recordings and additional information will continue to enhance the memory and reputation of Sun Records.

Dedication
This boxed set is dedicated to the memory of Mike Leadbitter.

Mike carried out considerable early research into postwar blues in Memphis and the Delta. He combined the merits of a discerning ear, an intuitive understanding and a passion for detail, all of which were applied in the appropriate degree to the appreciation and documentation of a music which he grasped tightly and celebrated nightly. Before any had the temerity to regard themselves as a blues scholar, he embodied the requisite attributes with none of the alarming side-effects that later models have evinced.

His work ultimately paved the way for the birth and subsequent expansion of the reissue market and the detailed discographies and sessionographies which have proliferated within the blues during the past 30 years. Mike was always willing to share his knowledge and always gave credit where it was due. Had it not been for his pioneering work coupled closely with this philosophy, it is very unlikely that either this or the original Sun Blues Box would ever have seen the light of day.

CREDITS

CD Remix: Neil Slaven & Roger Dopson
CD Project Co-ordination: Roger Dopson & John O'Toole
Original Boxed Set Project Co-ordination: Martin Hawkins
Original Boxed Set Compilation: Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Colin Escott, Cilla Huggins, Bez Turner
Original Boxed Set Liner Notes: Colin Escott, Hank Davis, Bez Turner, Martin Hawkins, Rob Bowman
Special thanks to: Sam Phillips, David Booth, Bruce Bastin
Thanks also to: Bill Daniels, David Evans, Doug Seroff, Jim O'Neal, Dick Shurman, Ray Topping,
Robert Loers, Marion Keisker McInnes
Information sources: the files of Billboard; Rhythm & Blues magazine; Memphis Vol. 3; Cashbox;
Blues Unlimited; Living Blues; Soul Bag; Hot Press; Blues Records Volume l; Blues Records Volume 2;
Robert Santelli's Book Of The Blues; Nick Tosches' Unsung Heroes Of Rock & Roll.

Original interview material:
Sam Phillips, interviewed by Martin Hawkins
Sam Phillips, by Colin Escott & Hank Davis
Sam Phillips, by Joe Jackson
Jud Phillips, by Colin Escott & Martin Hawkins
Marion Keisker, by Colin Escott & Hank Davis
Johnny London, by Rob Bowman
Rufus Thomas, by Rob Bowman
Mose Vinson, by Rob Bowman
Dan Taylor, by Rob Bowman
Rosco Gordon, by Hank Davis
Johnny Prye, by Hank Davis & Colin Escott
Johnny Bragg, by Colin Escott
Bobby Bland, James Cotton, Walter Horton, Matt Murphy,
B.B. King, and Howlin' Wolf, from Radio interviews by Dave Booth.

Photographic Research: Colin Escott, Bez Turner
Photo Sources: Bez Turner (Blues Unlimited collection), Showtime (Toronto) archives,
Billboard (courtesy Colin Escott), Johnny London, Hank Davis, Colin Escott, Robert Loers, Martin Hawkins.
Design & Artwork (Original Box and CD Remix): Adam Yeldham/Raven Design
Original Tape Compilation: Alan Combe
Original Tape Mastering: John Dent, the Sound Clinic CD Mastering: Peter Rynston

Sound Quality
Phenomenal technological strides - specifically, the development of the CEDAR system - have been made since the release of the original Boxed Set, which has considerably enhanced the overall sound quality. Original studio master tapes have been used wherever possible: however, some of the tapes were missing, and certain others were recorded before the Memphis Recording Service began to use tapes.
We are therefore extremely grateful to the following for the loan of their rare original records:
Mike Rowe, Cilla Huggins, Jim & Amy O'Neal, Doug Seroff, Dave Booth, Hank Davis, Colin Escott,
Martin Hawkins, John Key, Chris Bentley, Neil Slaven.

© 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Sun Box 7-1 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

8 Compact disc boxed set. An Charly Records Special Products. Blue label with Charly logo on top. Sun logo left from the center. Contains 202-tracks, which includes 31 previously unreleased sides. Each disc contains comprehensive, track-by-track liner notes. On the back cover, catalog number right on top. Also included in the boxed set, an 60-pages luxury booklet with foreword and introduction notes by Neil Slaven and Roger Dopson. Liner notes in the booklet by Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Colin Escott,Cilla Huggins, and Bez Turner. The booklet also features interviews with Sam Phillips and many of the singers and musicians, plus biographical information on each artist, a detailed Session File, and a host of photographs and memorabilia.

For music (standard singles) on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Disc 1 Contains

1 - Cool Down Mama (Lost John Hunter & The Blind Bats) (1950) 2:12 > 4-Star 1492-A <
(Lyndell Woodson) (Music Clearance)
Recorded probably May 1950 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Lost John Hunter (vocal and piano), The Blind Bats
Unknown (guitar, bass and drums)

There was considerable confusion for many years surrounding the actual place and date that these tracks were recorded, although the mystery now seems solved. Phillips sold the sides to 4-Star Records, whose numerical system indicates that they were issued around May/June 1 950, whilst this title was registered with B.M.I. shortly after its release, in September 1950. This seems to confirm that the Hunter titles were indeed the first blues recordings made by Sam Phillips - certainly, they were the first he placed with a third party. Technicalities aside, this remains a fine performance under any given circumstances driven along by the prominently recorded piano and Lost John's grainy vocal. This track is essentially a jumping City Blues, without the horn section. Hunted s backup group, the Blind Bats, make their presence felt as they chant their responses.

2 - School Boy (Lost John Hunter & The Blind Bats) (1950) 2:49 > 4-Star 1492-B <
(Lyndell Woodson) (Music Clearence)
Recorded probably May 1950 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Lost John Hunter (vocal and piano), The Blind Bats
Unknown (guitar, bass and drums)

Lost John Hunter joins the long list of unlikely "schoolboys" which includes the likes of Jimmy Reed, Peppermint Harris, and Fats Domino. A slower, but no less full-blooded performance, Hunted's confident vocal soars over the trio accompaniment, and it's clear from both his vocal and piano styling that he's more at home at a slower tempo. Following one further 4-Star single this local blind musician lived up to his name and went AWOL, a great shame as his talent shines through the surface noise.

3 - Shorty The Barber (Charlie Burse) (1986) 2:25 Not Originally Issued
(Chuck Mathews) (Cromwell Music)
Recorded probably May/June 1950 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Charlie Burse (vocal probably guitar), Mickey Mathis or Lotis Stevenson,
or Bunny Hall (saxophone), Robert Burse (probably drums)

Charlie Burse belongs to a far older musical tradition, having first recorded with the Memphis Jug Band in 1928. This, his last commercial session, yielded this vaudeville-flavoured song reminiscent of the rollicking music prevalent among the jug bands in which he once worked, Despite his twenty-five years' experience Burse sings the light-hearted lyric with gusto, as if relishing the chance to record once more - and the lively "knocked-out" piano is particularly appropriate. Despite this, the song remained unissued for some thirty-five years.

4 - Gotta Let You Go (Joe Hill Louis) (1950) 2:43 > It's The Phillips 9001 <
(Joe Hill Louis) (Copyright Control)
Recorded July 27, 1950 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal and guitar), Ford Nelson (piano),
Unknown (drums)

The sole release on Sam and Dewey's eponymous Phillips label: although issued as the flip of Louis's disc, this was the first side cut at his first Union Avenue session (he'd recorded for Columbia the previous year). It has a percussive quality similar to that of the topside, but the tempo is slowed to allow a greater prominence to the lyric, which tells the tale of an unfaithful woman upon whom our hero has lavished moola aplenty, but received precious little in return. A common enough glues theme, the chanted vocals add considerably to the air of malice generated by the harsh guitar lines.

5 - Boogie In The Park (Joe Hill Louis) (1950) 2:45 > It's The Phillips 9002 <
(Joe Hill Louis) (Copyright Control)
Recorded July July 27, 1950 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal and guitar), Ford Nelson (piano),
Unknown (drums)

Nominally the plug side of the Phillips' release, this "boogie" is a rough stomper, driven along by some percussive guitar work, and punctuated by squeaky harmonica. Louis returned to this theme on several occasions, but never again with quite the same force and conviction as he did on this recording.

6 - Walters Instrumental (Walter Horton) (1986) 2:53 Previously Unissued
(Walter Horton) (Copyright Control)
Recorded probably January 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Horton (harmonica), Billy Love (piano),
Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar),
Unknown (drums)

Had it not been for the emergence of Little Walter, then Walter Horton would no doubt be (rightly) regarded as the greatest of the post-War harp players. This is his first known recording, and it's a tour de force of harmonica playing, demonstrating different techniques and frequent changes in tempo. It is, quite simply, one of the classic tracks of post-War Blues. Furthermore, its easy to see why the Biharis accepted two complete sessions of Horton's material after hearing this "audition". Mention, too, must be made of the superb guitar accompaniment (Joe WiIlie Wilkins) which echoes the harp in some passages and acts as a stunning counterpoint in others. All blues should be this good!

7 - Rocket 88 (Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats) (1951) 2:48 > Chess 1458-A <
(Jackie Brenston) (N.M.P.C)
Recorded March 5, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jackie Brenston (vocal and baritone saxophone), Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone),
Eugene Fox (tenor saxophone), Ike Turner (piano), Willie Kizart (guitar),
Jesse Knight (bass), Willie Sims (drums)

Rightly hailed as a classic, this was one of the finest jump blues to emerge from the early 1950's. Several things combine to make this record unique. The first is the sound emanating from Willie Kizart's guitar: he'd in advertently created the first fuzz tone in the history of recorded sound when his amplifier fell off the top of the car on the way to Memphis, busting the speaker cone, Phillips later recalled: ''we had no way of getting it
fixed so we started playing around with the damn thing...stuffed little paper in there and it sounded good. It sounded like a saxophone''. Only Phillips would have had the courage to pair it with Ike Turner's powerful piano to lay down a rhythm track that could  kill at 50 paces. Brenston's vocal drips a confidence which belies his tender years, and Raymond Hill's sax solo builds in momentum to a screaming climax.

Phillips later recalled to Hot Press Joe Jackson: ''You're damn right it was the first rock and roll record, but don't ask me what was going on there, even though I created the thing!.. it was just a magic elixir that worked. But I had to tell Ike Turner 'As great as you are on piano, you cant sing'. That wasn't you can't be timid about telling the truth, or else you're o damn hypocrite. I had to say 'Do you have anybody, before we close down this session, that can sing? He said 'Jackie Brenston'.. Jackie sang, and that's how ''Rocket 88'' come about".

The song itself is dearly highly derivative of Jimmy Liggins' 1947 hit ''Cadillac Boogie'' (which in turn had its roots deeply embedded in Robert Johnson's ''Terroplane Blues'') - only instead of a caddy, Brenston's song was a paean to the new 1950 Hydra-Matic Drive V-8 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. In fact, as Brenston cheerfully told Jim O'Neil in Living Blues many years later: "if you listen to the two, you'll find that they're both basically the some. The words are just changed''.

(NB: in a curious coda to this historic recording, when Phillips saw to the paperwork after the session he realised that vocalist Jackie Brenston was still underage, and so the contract had to be signed by his mother which seems wildly at variance with Brenston's later hard-drinkin'/good-timin' image).

8 - Independent Woman (Jackie Brenston) (1951) 2:50 > Chess 1472-B <
(Jackie Brenston) (Burton Limited)
Recorded Probably May/June 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jackie Brenston (vocal and baritone saxophone), Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone),
Ike Turner (piano), Willie Kizart (guitar), Willie Sims (drums)

Brenston and the band get in something of a pickle here as they all lock into tortuous, uncomfortable riffs, apart from Ike who belabours the piano's treble keys with some abandon. Willie Kizart's fingers don't always find the right frets, whilst Willie Sims bravely - if foolhardily - persists with a rhythm pattern which combines his floor tom and sundry splashes on his hi-hat. Raymond Hill adds his tenor sax to the rippling riff before Jackie commands him "Play your horn, Raymond! Blow!". At the end of the piece, Jackie picks up his saxophone to supplement Hill's tenor. This was in fact yet another variation on ''Rocket 88'', recorded the same day and held over until was used as the B-side of '' Juiced'' - of which more later.

9 - I'm Lonesome Baby (Ike Turner) (1951) 3:02 > Chess 1459-B < 
(Ike Turner) (N.M.P.C.)
Recorded March 5, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jackie Brenston (vocal and baritone saxophone), Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone),
Eugene Fox (tenor saxophone), Ike Turner (piano), Willie Kizart (guitar),
Jesse Knight (bass), Willie Sims (drums)

Everyone's far more comfortable on a tune that may well have had its origins in New Orleans and the rhumba rhythms of Professor Longhair. Bandleader/deejay/talent scout Ike Turner was an eager 19-year-old when these tracks were recorded. He was a reluctant vocalist even then, but Johnny O'Neal's defection from the Kings of Rhythm to pursue a solo recording career with King meant that he had to take his share. Not only that, the ambitious young music man needed product with his name on it to help him achieve his ambitions. Hill and Brenston's saxes chatter throughout the piece, except when Hill takes his solo and Brenston picks up a pair of claves. Willie Kizart's blown cones deliver another distorted guitar solo which ends the song.

10 - Ridin' The Boogie (Lou Sargent) (1951) 2:18 > Chess 1465-A <
(Sam Phillips-Leonard Chess) (B.L.P.C.)
Recorded probably May 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Lou Sargent (Luther Steinberg) (trumpet), Tot Randolph (saxophone)
Phineas Newborn Jr. (piano), Les Mitchell (bass)
Jeff Greyer (drums)

"Lou Sargent" was actually a pseudonym for Luther Steinberg - although in the broader sense, the name was used as a front to describe the entire assembled musical aggregation. And in time-honoured fashion, Steinberg himself was unaware that he'd acquired a new identity until this record appeared. This could almost have been the backing track for ''Rocket 88'' - which is hardly surprising when you consider that the group became Jackie Brenston's touring band following his (inevitable?) split with Ike Turner. The track is driven along by the piano playing of Phineas Newborn Jr. (who was probably still under contract to Modern at the time), whilst the nominal leader, "Sargent", is barely audible on trumpet Luthers brother Wilber played bass and provided the vocal on the flipside ''She Really Treats Me Wrong'' under yet another pseudonym, Les Mitchell.

11 - Juiced (Billy Love) (1951) 2:31 > Chess 1472-A <
(Milton Morse Love) (Burton Limited)
Recorded July 24, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Billy Love (vocal and piano), Charles walker (saxophone)
Calvin Newborn (guitar), Phineas Newborn Sr. (drums)

This track is most certainly deserving of more than a passing footnote in the annals of rhythm and blues. A cryptic entry in Phillips own session files states that Billy Love was paid $100 for the composition, session piano, and vocal - but the irony was, of course, that this track was released under Jackie Brenston's name as a follow-up to ''Rocket 88''. An uproarious performance from start to finish, Love mimics Brenston's habit of yelling the soloist's name and whooping continually throughout. There is indeed a prodigious amount of energy in these grooves: Love's left hand is rock solid and fairly drives the session along, playing in unison with the bass. Guitarist Calvin Newborn fills incessantly around the vocal and takes a mean, extended solo: he's playing jazz with lethal attack, and that dirty rhythm and blues tone which Sam Phillips so loved. The sax is buried until the solo initially, but then assumes control in fine style. It should a been a biggie - in fact, perhaps if ''Juiced'' been issued under Billy Love's own name he could have afforded to kill himself on a better brand of liquor.

12 - My Real Gone Rocket (Jackie Brenston) (1951) 2:27 > Chess 1469-A <
(Jackie Brenston) (B.L.P.C.)
Recorded Probably July 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jackie Brenston (Vocal), Willie Kizart (guitar), Ike Turner (piano),
Willie Sims (drums), Raymond Gill (tenor saxophone),
Unknown (trumpet)

If there were any real doubts that Phillip' recordings with Jackie Brenston presaged rock and roll, then this should bury them for good. Ike Turner's piano is mixed way up front as Brenston continues the ''Rocket 88'' saga: a wild recording which almost veers off the road, out of control, Turner's thunderous left hand once again drives the beast along ably supported by guitarist Kizart. This is indeed quintessential good-time music, riddled with contagious energy and a couple of memorable lines, viz: "When cruise through your town/Like that great Northwestern/You con tell everybody/that was mighty Jackie Brenston''. Yes, indeed!

13 - Tuckered Out (Jackie Brenston) (1951) 2:29 > Chess 1469-B <
(Larry Meeks) (Burton Limited)
Recorded probably (July/August 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jackie Brenston (vocal) Unknown (saxophone), Unknown (bass),
Phineas Newborn Jr. Piano, Calvin Newborn (guitar),
Phineas Newborn Sr. (drums), Band (chorus)

It isn't known how Phillips or Brenston stumbled across this number, but it's clearly a rather better - crafted song than Brenston's own loose, good-time Rockers. The riffing horns are mixed way down, upstaged by the band chanting the refrain, whilst Calvin Newborn's guitar solo evinces distinct Jazz leanings. Although recorded a month or so after the rather meatier ''My Real Gone Rocket'' Brenston himself recalled that this one was touted as the A-side, and he felt that his career lost momentum as a result. Nonetheless, this remains a magnificent performance, as tight and organised as ''Real Gone Rocket'' is loose and unbridled.

14 - Booted (Rosco Gordon) (1951) 3:04 > Chess 1487-A <
(Courtney Harris-Robert Henry) (Arc Music Corporation)
Recorded August 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano), Willie Wilkes (saxophone),
Willie Sims (saxophone), Unknown (bass),
John Murry Daley (drums)

Many of Rosco Gordon's records from this era give the impression that you've arrived midway through a party and the band's already seen off the first jug of moonshine. This ramshackle masterpiece is no exception, from John Murry Daley's machine-gun snare at the beginning, to his lapse onto the on-beat during Willie Sims' increasingly psychotic sax solo, to the Keith-Moon-are-you-listening? confusion at its end. In between is Rosco's tale of being jilted and his planned revenge, delivered in a lazy vocal style which is in fact a wicked parody of the Charles Brown school of singing. Sam Phillips thought it was so good, he leased versions to both Chess and RPM. The resulting furore raged over Christmas 1951 and was resolved early in the New Year, when Chess got Howlin' Wolf and RPM got Rosco. No guessing who got the better deal.

15 - Sam's Drag (L.J. Thomas) (1952) 2:51 > Chess 1493-A <
(Lafayette Jerl Thomas) (Burton Limited)
Recorded October 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Lafayette Jerl Thomas (guitar), Unknown (saxophone, bass and drums)

This instrumental is anything but a drag, its tough guitar work, giving a clear indication of Lafayette Jerl Thomas' burgeoning talent. However, it's readily apparent at this early stage in his career that he hadn't quite developed the technique to match his energy and enthusiasm. An off-key passage towards the end confirms that he still had some way to go to achieve his later status as West Coast guitar star.

16 - Baby Take A Chance With Me (L.J. Thomas) (1953) 2:46 > Chess 1493-B <
(Lafayette Jerl Thomas) (Burton Limited)
Recorded October 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Lafayette Jerl Thomas (guitar), Unknown (saxophone, bass and drums)

Meanwhile, over on the flipside things pick up considerably. Thomas's pinched, nasally vocal delivery and fluid, syncopated guitar fills are clearly borrowed from the Texas tradition - exuding distinct overtones of T-Bone Walker - and giving a clear pointer to later blues guitar styles. The band play in a wonderfully doomy vein, in distinct counterpoint to their leader.

17 - Country Clown (Doctor Ross) (1996) 2:51 Not Originally Issued
(Isiah Ross) (Burton Limited)
Recorded November 29, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Isaiah Ross (vocal, harmonica and foot-stomping), Wiley Gatlin (guitar),
Robert Moore (aka Mook) (broom)

Doctor Ross's recording debut shows the profound influence that John Lee ''Sonny Boy'' Williamson had on the harmonica players of the next generation. The performance is something of a hybrid, since it combines elements of Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas in its construction. The song is Ross' version of Lil' Son Jackson's ''Bad Whiskey, Bad Women'', recorded in Houston three years previously and issued on Gold Star 642. This first take begins with a long harmonica solo, whereas the issued version has a four-bar introduction before the first verse. The rapport between Ross and his probable accompanist Wiley Galatin (or Gatlin), his partner at the time, extends to a repertoire of repeat figures which the guitarist plays when Ross extends a verse with a random harmonica tag.

18 Doctor Ross Boogie (Doctor Ross) (1952) 2:37 > Chess 1504-B <
(Isiah Ross) (Burton Limited)
Recorded November 29, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Isiah Ross (vocal, harmonica and foot-stopping), Wiley Gatlin (guitar)

This is the template for many of Doctor Ross' later Sun recordings. The guitarist's amplifier makes a rather muddy jumble of his boogie phrases, but his presence is almost incidental to Ross' exuberant vocal and his harmonica playing. The songs obvious derivation from ''Pinetop's Boogie Woogie'' is made plain by Ross' spoken (or half-shouted) instructions to his imaginary audience "When I tell you to get that thing/try your best to break your leg''. He prefaces a harmonica solo with the comment, "Now ploy it cool", and proceeds to play with anything but reticence.

19 - Little Soldier Boy (Doctor Ross) (1996) 2:55 Previously Unreleased
(Isiah Ross) (Burton Limited)
Recorded November 29, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Isiah Ross (vocal, harmonica and foot-stopping), Wiley Gatlin (guitar)

The second of two takes, this version is slightly faster than the previous take and features the prominent foot-tapping also present on ''County Clown''. Those with a mania for classification could argue endlessly over which musician is providing pedestrian assistance or whether a third party, like Willie Johnson, might have wandered into the studio to help. The song refers to Ross' two bouts of Army service, from which he'd recently been demobbed. Having served in the Philippines and the Southwest Pacific, he got out in 1948 but was recalled two years later. In his own words: "He kept on playing/he would say/'Everything's going to be alright after awhile'/and he would keep o smile on his face/pointing his finger and blowing his harmonica/all of the girls loved Doctor Ross''.

20 - Drop Top (Billy Love) (1952) 2:41 > Chess 1508-A <
(Milton Morse Love) (Burton Limited)
Recorded October/November 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Billy Love (vocal and piano), Charles Walker (saxophone),
Calvin Newborn (guitar), Phineas Newborn Sr. (drums)

''Rocket 88'', of course, inspired a great many sequels - a fair number of which emanated from Sam Phillips' studio, notably ''My Real Gone Rocket'', ''T-Model Boogie'', ''Mr. Highway Man, ''Riding' The Boogie''. Billy Love's song is a delightful eulogy to the long-gone, gas-guzzlin' convertibles of the early 1950's: a routine eight-to-the-bar boogie, driven along by Billy's rock-solid, dependable left hand and hugely confident vocal, the automobile evolves into a metaphor for nookie halfway through. Phillips' later comments not with standing (see elsewhere in this booklet), Love appears to have possessed considerable talent, and clearly should have gone on to become a major player - and whilst his debt to Roy Brown is readily evident here, he remains his own man.

21 - You're Gonna Cry (Billy ''Red'' Love) (1952) 2:27 > Chess 1508-B <
(Milton Morse Love) (Burton Limited)
Recorded October/November 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Billy Love (vocal and piano), Charles Walker (saxophone),
Calvin Newborn (guitar), Phineas Newborn Sr. (drums)

The B side of ''Drop Top'', this is a conventional medium-paced shuffle with a dragging beat that complements the pessimistic slant of the lyrics. Calvin Newborn's guitar is quite high in the mix, as he plays an inversion of the stock boogie rhythm further up the fretboard. The unidentified saxophonist takes a downbeat, almost somnolent solo, entirely in keeping with Love's mellow, undemonstrative vocal.

22 - T-Model Boogie (Rosco Gordon) (1977) 2:25 Not Originally Issued
(Rosco Gordon) (Lion Music Publishers)
Recorded December 4, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano), Willie Sims (saxophone),
Willie Wilkes (saxophone), John Murry Daley (drums),
Band (chorus)

Rosco recorded at least three versions of this, Neo for Sam Phillips (the other take first appeared on CR 30101) and a speeded-up version for Duke, with automobile noises spliced into the intro and outro. The song is patently another ''Rocket 88'' spinoff, but has an engaging spirit of its own - although things begin to fall apart rhythmically during the third verse after Rosco attempts to cram a couple of gratuitous extra beats into the mix. The tenor sax player suddenly springs to life during his solo, exhibiting a surly Bluestone his sustained note during the last verse being particularly effective.

23 - Cant Love Me And My Money (L.B. Lawson) (1986) 2:27 Previously Unissued
(Latge B. Lawson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Probably 1951/1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Latge B. Lawson (vocal and tube), Shaker James Scott Jr. (guitar),
Charles McClelland (guitar), Robert Fox (drums or tube bass)

Nothing much is known about LB. Lawson, who sings in deep measured tones on this cacophonous boogie, and is dramatically countered by the coruscating guitar lines of James Scott Jr. Drummer Robert Fox is strangely subdued throughout, and so the rhythm is rather dictated by Charles McLellan on rhythm guitar who evinces an assurance which one imagines, comes from playing regularly in the same tight combo.

24 - Flypaper Boogie (L.B. Lawson & James Scott Jr.) (1989) 2:21 Not Originally Issued.
(James Scott Jr.) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Probably 1951/52 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Latge B. Lawson (tube shakers), James Scott Jr. (guitar),
Charles McClelland (guitar), Robert Fox (drums or tub bass)

In the main, the artists that Sam Phillips recorded had at least some elements of sophistication about them: however, there were exceptions, and these tracks recorded by Lawson and James Scott Jr's Blues Rockers make three. This is juke joint music at its ragged, rugged best: Scoffs lead guitar lines are almost primitive in their simplicity, whilst the vibrato on Charles McLellan's amplifier helps to double the rhythm that Robert Fox's drums do little more than sketch. It's tempting to hear elements of ''Boogie Chillen'' in amongst the interplay - hardly surprising since he grew up with John Lee Hooker. But this is generic boogie music a juke joint workout that's got aerobics licked.

25 – Got My Call Card (L.B. Lawson & James Scott Jr.) (1989) 3:24 Not Originally Issued
(James Scott Jr.) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Probably 1951/52 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Latge B. Lawson (tube shakers), James Scott Jr. (guitar),
Charles McClelland (guitar), Robert Fox (drums or tub bass)

The Korean War was still providing material for future M.A.S.H. scripts when this session took place, so it's hardly surprising that L.B. Lawson should have got his ''questionary'', "Yes my brother's gone to the Army and they're twin' to get me too''.The lyrics also refer to a chilling new dimension that hovered over this war with ''Communism'': "You know, I had a friend ''cross the water/he so dear to me/now that Atom Bomb done exploded/so he done disappointed, don't you see". The funereal tempo poses problems for drummer Fox, who compensates by making sundry excursions around his limited kit. The interaction between the guitars is notable for the way in which Scott constructs lines that double the rhythm that McLellan doggedly maps out.

26 - Scott's Boogie (L.B. Lawson & James Scott Jr.) (1989) 2:22 Not Originally Issued
(James Scott) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Probably 1951/52 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Latge B. Lawson (tube shakers), James Scott Jr. (guitar),
Charles McClelland (guitar), Robert Fox (drums or tub bass)

The relative facility with which James Scott Jr. plays here suggests that this might have been a party piece, the one that was guaranteed to get everyone up and dancing. Both McLellan and Fox seem to know their parts here too, although the latteds drumkit has once again been relegate to a distant comer of the studio, so that all we hear of him is his bass drum and hi-hat once again, the musicians' enthusiasm sets them off like a snowball rolling down a hill, but everyone arrives at the bottom, happy and unhurt.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Sun Box 7-2 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

8 Compact disc boxed set. An Charly Records Special Products. Blue label with Charly logo on top. Sun logo left from the center. Contains 202-tracks, which includes 31 previously unreleased sides. Each disc contains comprehensive, track-by-track liner notes. On the back cover, catalog number right on top. Also included in the boxed set, an 60-pages luxury booklet with foreword and introduction notes by Neil Slaven and Roger Dopson. Liner notes in the booklet by Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Colin Escott,Cilla Huggins, and Bez Turner. The booklet also features interviews with Sam Phillips and many of the singers and musicians, plus biographical information on each artist, a detailed Session File, and a host of photographs and memorabilia.

For music (standard singles) on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Disc 2 Contains

1 - Highway Man (Howlin' Wolf) (1976) 2:25 Not Originally Issued
(Chester Burnett) (Burton Limited)
Recorded January 23, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Howlin' Wolf 9vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
Unknown (bass), Willie Steele (drums), Albert Williams or
Louis Calvin Hubert (piano)

Like all the genuine greats whom Sam Phillips recorded, Wolf arrived at 706 Union with a style which he neither cared to alter, nor could possibly have improved. He plays and sings with such bite and attack on this track he sounds like he could have saved the south at Gettysburg! Sure, ifs something of a ''Rocket 88'' spinoff, but it has an added sparkle and vitality which owes nothing to any other record. L.C. Hubert's piano is rock solid, whilst Willie Johnson's guitar fairly bristles with energy - and although Wolf pops his up's into the mike, that merely adds to the abandon of the recording. (NB: the original working title of this song was ''Cadillac Daddy'', which was arguably stronger).

2 - My Troubles And Me (Howlin' Wolf) (1976) 3:15 Not Originally Issued
(Chester Burnett) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded: - January 23, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Howlin' Wolf (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
Willie Steel (drums), Albert Williams (piano)

On this track, Wolfs own performance is matched - if not overshadowed - by Johnson's guitar work, with its jazzy inclinations and distorted tone. In fact, Johnson is allowed full rein on this one and seems determined to steal the show, bursting forth not only around Wolfs stirring vocal, but under it as well, whilst the mellow tone of Wolf's harp offers a stark contrast, despite being rather overshadowed early on in the proceedings. During the first four bars the guitar and piano seem to be at cross purposes, whilst there is a sax buried way back in the mix somewhere, to little effect.

3 - Getting Old And Grey (Howlin' Wolf) (1952) 2:36 > Chess 1510-A <
(Chester Burnett) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded: - January 23, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Howlin' Wolf (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
Willie Steel (drums), Albert Williams (piano)

Amazingly, this song consists of just two vocal verses split by one instrumental chorus. Like the previous track, this is very much a vehicle for Willie Johnson's supercharged block chords and fidgeting single string runs. Both verses have Wolf concerned with encroach in gold age - after all, he was 41 at the time of this session. When he sang, "I've got to look out for my older days", he had no idea of the international fame that lay in wait for him. Sam Phillips juggles with his microphones during the solo chorus, beginning with Wolf's stereotypical harmonica phrases and then pumping up Willie Johnson's intense lead. Far in the background a pair of tenor saxes riff contentedly. In his final verse, Wolf reckons "I've got to find me a place to stay". That place would be Chicago.

4 - My Baby Walked Off (Howlin' Wolf) (1976) 2:56 Not Originally Issued
(Chester Burnett) (Copyright Control)
Recorded January 23, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Howlin' Wolf (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar)
Unknown (bass), Willie Steel (drums), Albert Williams
or Louis Calvin Hubert (piano)

Wolf's vocal performance on this number is damn near faultless, containing all that feral energy and menace which he regularly generated at his very best. However, the pianist (Louis Calvin Hubert) seems to have real problems keeping up during the first chorus, before settling in unobtrusively. Wolf contributes some genuinely bizarre lines: "You know she's just my colour/she's just my kind/l'm crazy 'bout the woman/she just walked off and died''. His vocal inflection on the repetition of "colour" is simply magical.

5 - Decorate The counter (Rosco Cordon) (1977) 2:59 Not originally Issued
(Robert Henry-Courtney Harris) (Copyright Control)
Recorded January 23, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano), Willie Sims (saxophone),
Willie Wilkes (saxophone), John Murry Daley (drums)

It's hard to be critical of a record like this, which is infectious good-time music, pure and simple. This is the second, looser take with the band getting bawdy in the background, and is a vast improvement on take 1 (which was released on CR 301 33). This version was actually mastered for release on Chess as the follow-up to ''Booted''. However, legal wranglings between Chess and RPM/Modern over Rosco's contract led to it being withheld. Since Leonard Chess had felt so strongly about the song he requested another version with the same sound and feel: Phillips immediately reassembled the same studio band and brought in another artist - who, like Rosco, had a good-time, good-humoured vocal style. Enter Rufus Thomas: Phillips rushed the resulting acetate to Chess in April 1952, and the disc was in the stores within weeks (see Disc 2; track 21).

6 - I Wade Through Muddy Water (Dream On Baby) (Rosco Gordon) (1986) 3:00 Not Originally Issued
(Rosco Gordon) (Copyright Control)
Recorded January 23, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano), Willie Sims (saxophone),
Willie Wilkes (saxophone), John Murry Daley (drums)

John Murry Daley's drums beat like a sepulchral metronome throughout this dirge-like song, the designated B-side of ''Decorate The Counter''. Sam Phillips recut ''Decorate'' with Rufus Thomas, but this track - retitled had to wait 25 years to be released. Its original title comes from the second verse, when Rosco describes what he's prepared to do for the woman who's deserted him. Richard Sanders' baritone sax solo is perfectly recorded, catching the full eructive depth of those bass notes. His wheedling tone sounds like Lewis Carroll's Walrus coaxing virgin oysters from their shells.

7 - Sellin' My Whiskey (Jackie Boy & Little Walter) (1952) 1:20 > Sun 174-B < 
(Jack Kelly-Walter Horton) (Promotional Copies Only) (Label Restored)
Recorded February 25, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jack Kelly (vocal and piano), Walter Horton (harmonica and Kazoo),
Joe Hill Louis (guitar and drums), Will Batts (fiddle)

Although scheduled for release as Sun 174 (and labels printed accordingly) this never made it to the final furlong, being scrapped following a lack of positive audience reaction after an acetate dub had been aired on WHHM. Sadly, neither does a complete version of this track appear to have survived - hence its inclusion here in its (only-known) fragment ed form. The song itself - with its oddly bowdlerised title - harks back to Kelly's South Memphis Jug Band, with its romping rhythm and good-time lyric. It's a shame to hear only this truncated extract, and one can only speculate what Walter Horton might have brought to the original recording.

8 - Drivin' Slow (Johnny London) (1952) 2:58 > Sun 175-A < 
(Johnny London) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 8, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Johnny London (alto saxophone), Joe Louis Hall (piano)
Charles Keel (tenor saxophone) Julius Drake (drums)

This, of course, was the first Sun record to actually make it into the stores. London was a local rhythm and blues/jazz musician who walked in off the street to cut some demo's, and in time honoured fashion was promptly snapped up by Phillips. His haunting, sinewy alto sax is heard to great advantage here: with minimal support from tenor sax player Charles Keel and pianist Joe Hall, London unfurls a tortuous improvisation, drenched in the blues. Phillips achieved a recording balance here which contrives to create the illusion that London is playing in the next apartment - all of which adds to the disc's "after hours" charm. It was indeed a brave step releasing an instrumental as the first offering on Sun in April, 1952, but the record actually topped several of the local charts (in particular, WHBQ), and a copy of the 78 was mounted and remained affixed to the studio entrance at 706 Union for many years. London's principal recollection of the session is that Phillips had holes in his shoes when he put his feet up on the desk! "man, he was scuffing'' !

9 - Flat Tire (Johnny London) (1952) 2:28 > Sun 175-B < 
(Johnny London) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 8, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Johnny London (alto saxophone), Joe Louis Hall (piano)
Charles Keel (tenor saxophone)
Julius Drake (drums)

The 16-year-old London's principal attribute was his lung power: beyond that his technique was basically unremarkable - which is proved on this track, which like the A-side, has no real theme. Phillips' ''down the hall, round the corner, by the ice-machine'' echo chamber effect on London's alto sax means that Charles Keel's tenor, monotonously honking out its boogie pattern, distracts the ear from what is supposed to be the main interest. When he isn't emitting long wailing single notes, London's lack of invention sounds as flat as the tire in the title. This is particularly true of the last choruses, which consist of minimal variations based around the root note and end on a desperate seventh.

10 - When I'm Gone (Joe Hill Louis) (1952) 3:45 > Checker 763-B <
(Joe Hill Louis) (Burton Limited)
Recorded March 31, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal and guitar), Nolan Hall (drums)

This is in fact the full-length take of this track, Checker having released an edited version. A slow, menacing blues, driven along by some serious "back in the alley" styled guitar and a thumping drummer (Nolen Hall), this is among the nastiest of Louis's blues sides - quite unlike the more genial ebullience for which he was rather better-known.

11 -- Dorothy May (Joe Hill Louis) (1952) 2:04 > Checker 763-A < 
(Joe Hill Louis) (Burton Limited)
Recorded July 18, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal and guitar), Walter Horton (harmonica),
Jack Kelly (piano), Willie Nix (drums)

(NB: although ''Dorothy Mae'' was recorded several months later, it was paired up with ''When I'm Gone'' as a single release: consequently, we've bent our own "rules" and taken this track slightly out of chronology). Although Louis worked live as a one-man-band, Sam Phillips had begun to record him with other musicians. On paper, the combination of Louis, Walter Horton, Jack Kelly and Willie Nix would have been expected to come up with something a little less commonplace than this: none of the musicians is less than competent, but neither are they any more than that. Horton resolutely comps his rhythm, even through the solo chorus, and neither Kelly or Nix can be heard well enough to discern what they might be doing. That leaves Joe, who happily belts out his verses, all about the said Lady, whom he seems to be getting rid of after she's already left anyway. Who said that women are the weaker sex?

12 - Baby Child (Elven Parr's In The Groove Boys) (1996) 3:24 Previously Unreleased
(Eddie Snow) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 14, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Eddie Snow (vocal and piano), Elven Parr (and guitar),
Luther Taylor (saxophone), Bennie Moore (saxophone),
Carl Tate (drums)

Guitarist Parr's band took its name from a WMC radio show that broadcast 15 minutes of suitably ''groovy'' records every day. They worked the circuit which moved up and down the Mississippi from Memphis to Cairo, via clubs like M.C. Reeder's T99 Club in Osceola, Arkansas. Pianist Eddie Snow worked with them regularly, as did for a while the lanky Albert Nelson before he changed his last name to King. ''Baby Child'' is a slow blues with a lusty if slightly winded vocal from Snow: "She's got me going round in circles, crying just like a baby child''. The balance favours Luther Taylor and Bennie Moore's saxes at the expense of their leader's guitar.

13- I'm A Good Man (Elven Parr's In The Groove Boys) (1977) 2:27 Not Originally Issued
(Eddie Snow) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 14, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Eddie Snow (vocal and piano), Elven Parr (and guitar),
Luther Taylor (saxophone), Bennie Moore (saxophone),
Carl Tate (drums)

Parr seems to have turned his amp up for this enthusiastic boogie, but the capering saxes still get in the way of what might be one of the great guitar solos recorded at Sun - if only we could hear it. Eddie Snow sounds a touch frantic as he claims he wants to live ''the right kind of life''. Even so, "Let me tell you one thing I want you to know/if you have any children (they) got to look like Snow''. Chances were, with the lifestyle of a touring band being what it was, there were a few of those already.

14 - In The Groovy Rhumba (Elven Parr's In The Groove Boys) (1996) 2:50 Previously Unreleased
(Eddie Snow) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 14, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Eddie Snow (vocal and piano), Elven Parr (and guitar),
Luther Taylor (saxophone), Bennie Moore (saxophone),
Carl Tate (drums)

The horns are still front and centre as Eddie Snows piano takes the lead on this ''shimmy like you wanna''. When the leader finally gets a chance to show us what he can do, he is once again rather overshadowed. Having made sure we can't ignore them, the horns then break into their lounge lizard riff until the slightly botched ending. The 'mighty rum bling' that persists through most of the tune is caused by Eddie Snow's foot on the sustain pedal as his left hand pounds out the rhythm.

15 - Skin And Bones (Slow Version) (Elven Par(s In The Groove Boys) (1989) 2:44 Not Originally Issued
(Eddie Snow) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 14, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Eddie Snow (vocal and piano), Elven Parr (and guitar),
Luther Taylor (saxophone), Bennie Moore (saxophone),
Carl Tate (drums)

The band - or Sam Phillips - hedged their bets with this song, since it exists in both slow and fast versions. Snows woman is reduced to the ''skin and bones'' of the title: "You used to be beautiful but you lived your life too fast/ now you ain't got nothin' but your dork unattractive past''. Which seems to be what he sings. Legibility is just as problematic on the fast version which changes the verse order and adds two more as well as a frantic tenor solo. Eddie Snow returned three years later to make a Sun single of his own. (see Disc 8: track 12).

16 - Everybody's In The Mood (Howlin' Wolf) (1977) 2:55 Not Originally Issued
(Chester Burnett) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 17, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Howlin' Wolf (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
Unknown (bass), Willie Steel (drums),
Bill Johnson (piano)

On April 17th 1952 Wolf turned up at the Memphis Recording Service to record a session for Chess, for which he received $200. None of the sides were released at the time, although this cut would clearly have made a great jumping B-side to any of his great early singles. Guitarist Johnson fits some powerful boogie licks in beneath Wolfs vocals, but this time it's clearly the Wolf's show as he drives it along, calling all the shots from start to finish.

17 - Decoration Day Blues (Howlin' Wolf) (1976) 3:14 Not Originally Issued
John Lee Williamson) Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded April 17, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Howlin' Wolf (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
Unknown (bass), Willie Steel (drums),
Bill Johnson (piano)

Wolf turns his hand to Sonny Boy Williamson I's pre-war hit, which the latter had originally recorded back in 1938. Following an exceedingly tenuous start - which suggests that Wolf knew exactly where he was off to, but neglected to tell the band - the accompanists struggle to find a point of access into this three-chord jungle. A shift in the recording level during the first verse indicates that not even Phillips was sure what was going down. However, once Wolf gets into his vocal, things settle into a fairly conventional mid-tempo blues distinguished by some excellent harp heroics, and an impassioned vocal.

18 - Bluebird Blues (Howlin' Wolf) (1977) 2:47 Not Originally Issued
(Jonn Lee Williamson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 17, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Howlin' Wolf (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
Unknown (bass), Willie Steel (drums),
Bill Johnson (piano)

It would seem that even at this early point in his career Wolfs thoughts were already turning north to Chicago, as evidenced by the imagery in this song. Although far from representative of Wolfs best work, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of his style (although when Wolf finally made his move north, it was in a late model Buick rather than on a bluebird). Phillips duly sent these cut to Chess, although they remained unissued at the time - the original acetate of this side eventually finding its way onto a bootleg in 1979. This vintage blues was popular during the late 1930's and early 1940's, Tommy McClennan's gravel-voiced version from 1942 even bearing a superficial resem blance to Wolfs version. Musicologists Robert Dixon and John Godrich have suggested that the "Bluebird" in McClennan's version referred to the label for which it was recorded: fanciful speculation or not, all such meaning was lost by the time Wolf annexed the song, making it his own.

19 - Well That's Alright (Howlin' Wolf) (1976) 2:53 Not Originally Issued
(Chester Burnett) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded April 17, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Howlin' Wolf (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
Unknown (bass), Willie Steel (drums),
Bill Johnson (piano)

Well, actually, things are not alright! This ain't no technical masterpiece by a long shot - although by way of compensation Wolf proffers a standout vocal, and there is an infectious spirit to this recording which transcends most of the technical flaws. There's some rather sloppy timing, and the track appears to have been little more than a loose jam - in fact the introduction provides a further example of Wolf kicking into gear without cuing in his sidesmen.

20 - Married Woman (Rufus Thomas Jr.) (1986) 2:45 Previously Unissued
(Rufus Thomas Jr.) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 21, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rufus Thomas Jr. (vocal), Willie Wilkes (tenor saxophone),
Richard Sanders (baritone saxophone0, Billy Love (piano),
John Murray Daley (drums)

Rufus's baby left him on Saturday March 1st: on April 21st he was in Sam Phillips' studio, tellin' the world all about it. The distraught-sounding Rufus was backed by Rosco Gordon's band on this, and they cook along really nicely behind his distinctive vocal (although we could probably have done without the rather embarrassing "drunken" imitations at the dises outset). John Daley kicks things along with some driving percussion and Willie Wilkes' tenor-playing is superb, sustaining the opening note of several lines for all the tension there worth.

21 - Decorate The Counter(Rufus Thomas Jr.) (1952) 2:23 > Chess 1517-B <
(Robert Henry-T. Courtney) (Burton Limited)
Recorded April 21, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rufus Thomas Jr. (vocal), Willie Wilkes (tenor saxophone),
Richard Sanders (baritone saxophone0, Billy Love (piano),
John Murray Daley (drums)

Recorded the same day, and perhaps one of the main reasons for the session, was Rufus' version of Rosco Gordon's hymn to intemperance. Rosco's own was now on the shelf alongside the empties from last weekend's carouse. In order to retain the song's unique blowsey atmosphere, Sam Phillips brought the composer and his band into the studio to lend a hand - and perhaps an elbow. For all his exuberance, Rufus can't quite catch the manic edge that Rosco habitually brought to his songs. Note the lack of spontaneity when Rufus repeats Rosco's original aside, "What you say, Richard?/that's what I thought you said'', as Richard Sanders sets out on a solo that sounds like a malfunctioning industrial vacuum cleaner.

22 - Registration Day Blues (Sleepy John Estes) (1976) 3:08 Not Originally Issued
(John Estes) (Tristan Music)
Recorded April 24, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Sleepy John Estes (vocal and guitar), Lee ''Tennessee'' Crisp (harmonica),
Possibly Hammie Nixon (washboard)

This topical blues is clearly about the Korean War, although Estes may well originally have written it about World War II. It shows off his unique style to good advantage, and it is interesting to note that he is using an electric guitar. From his very first to his last recordings, Estes employed an anguished delivery in which he would forcefully project the first half of a line or verse, and then breathlessly slur the remainder. Some of Estes' noted biting observations can be found here: "Now let's go boys/hold up for your town/if you ever get back home/you'll be on your same old paved ground''. Documentary evidence indicates that both Peacock and Chess showed an interest in ''Registration Day Blues and ''Rats In My Kitchen'', but it seems that neither deal was ever finalised.

23 - Policy Man (Sleepy John Estes) (1996) 3:12 Previously Unissued
(John Estes) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 24, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Sleepy John Estes (vocal and guitar), Lee ''Tennessee'' Crisp (harmonica),
Possibly Hammie Nixon (washboard)

Although the sales pitch for an insurance company (!) this track offers the closest glimpse of Estes' pre-War style. Its original working title was ''Burial Insurance Blues'' for only $3 you get full benefits - just give up some whiskey money every week, and when they bring you home with a sheet over your face, you'll be all set. Whoopee! It's easy to see why Phillips sought to capture Estes on record, as this is indeed exceptionally pure blues music. At this stage Phillips could not have foreseen the early 1660's folk Boom, which led to the resurrection of Estes and many other old timers: at the time Sam recorded these sides he must have thought that Estes' back-country blues was on the very verge of extinction. (NB: the take used here is different to that used on the original Sun LP Blues Box).

24 - Rats In My Kitchen (Sleepy John Estes) (1985) 3:05 Previously Unissued
(John Estes) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 24, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Sleepy John Estes (vocal and guitar), Lee ''Tennessee'' Crisp (harmonica),
Possibly Hammie Nixon (washboard)

The rats are so mean in Sleepy John's kitchen that he needs a mountain cat! When Estes cut these sides he was only 48 years old - yet his voice conjures up the image of a wizened old blues survivor in his 1970's. In fact, when compared with his early 1940's Bluebird sides, one is left with the impression that the intervening decade had not been kind to Estes - or perhaps his chops had just become a little rusty. Recorded at the same session as its companion sides here, the harp player would appear to have sat this track out.

25 - Runnin' Around (Sleepy John Estes) (1996) 3:03 Previously Unissued
(John Estes) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 24, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Sleepy John Estes (vocal and guitar), Lee ''Tennessee'' Crisp (harmonica),
Possibly Hammie Nixon (washboard)

Estes is not best known for uptempo material, but this track proves he could easily accommodate them into his idiosyncratic style. Estes and washboard/harp-player Lee Crisp generate considerable energy between them, and there is some fine interplay between the guitar and harp. Estes' vocal has something of a plaintive feel, which adds to the overall appeal. (NB: the take used here is different to that used on the original Sun LP Blues Box). 

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Sun Box 7-3 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

8 Compact disc boxed set. An Charly Records Special Products. Blue label with Charly logo on top. Sun logo left from the center. Contains 202-tracks, which includes 31 previously unreleased sides. Each disc contains comprehensive, track-by-track liner notes. On the back cover, catalog number right on top. Also included in the boxed set, an 60-pages luxury booklet with foreword and introduction notes by Neil Slaven and Roger Dopson. Liner notes in the booklet by Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Colin Escott,Cilla Huggins, and Bez Turner. The booklet also features interviews with Sam Phillips and many of the singers and musicians, plus biographical information on each artist, a detailed Session File, and a host of photographs and memorabilia.

For music (standard singles) on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Disc 3 Contains

1 - Midnight Showers Of Rain (Willie Nix) (1986) 2:59 Not Originally Issued
(Lowell Fulson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 25, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Willie Nix (vocal and drums), Walter Horton (harmonica),
Billy Love (piano), Willie Johnson (guitar)

Drummer Nix was a regular sessionman at 706 Union, and like Houston Stokes some six or seven months later, Sam Phillips also recorded him as a vocalist. Phillips later recalled Nix's enthusiasm thus: ''Willie was not the subtlest of drummers, I would say, but he drove a session along and he had a feeling for what I wanted to get. He was something of o character, too...". Nix leads this slow blues with his customary verve, beautifully supported by Walter Horton, who blows a perfectly-controlled harp solo. Willie Johnson stitches the whole shebang together with some robust guitar work ('though giving the impression that he was itching to cut loose), whilst Billy Love's piano provides a sound rhythmic base.

2 - Prison Bound Blues (Willie Nix) (1977) 2:40 Not Originally Issued
(Leroy Carr) (Delta Music Corporation)
Recorded April 25, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Willie Nix (vocal and drums), Walter Horton (harmonica),
Billy Love (piano), Willie Johnson (guitar)

On this track the same band - this time at mid-tempo - exhibit an irresistible swing and drive as Johnson floats occasional licks over Love's stomping piano-playing, all under pinned by Nix's solid drumming. Enjoyable, if unremarkable.

3 - Riding In the Moonlight (Willie Nix) (1986) 3:12 Not Originally Issued
(Chester Burnett) (Copyright Control)
Recorded April 25, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Willie Nix (vocal and drums), Walter Horton (harmonica),
Billy Love (piano), Willie Johnson (guitar)

Howling Wolfs classic is re-interpreted by Nix, and whilst it lacks the tension and men ace of Wolfs original is nonetheless interesting. Taken at a slower pace and given a softer treatment than Wolf, Nifs vocal lies across the beat and occasionally battles with Willie Johnson's forceful guitar licks. Walter Horton takes a relatively minor role, confin ing himself to squeaky, high-register work.

4 - Take A Little Walk With Me (Willie Nix) (1977) 2:28 Not Originally Issued
(Robert Lockwood) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded April 25, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Willie Nix (vocal and drums), Walter Horton (harmonica),
Billy Love (piano), Willie Johnson (guitar)

This traditional song gets a thunderous updating with a stomping drum beat, wailing harp, and a fiery rhythm. Johnson's guitar chops have a nasty edge to them and add an air of brooding tension to an already gloomy performance.

5 - Ain't Gonna Tell You No Lie (James banister) (1986) 2:26 Previously Unissued
(James Banister) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 3, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
James Banister (vocal and drums), Bobby Field (tenor saxophone),
Dennis Binder (piano), Johnny Smith (bass)

In March 1951, Ike Turner had brought his band from Clarksdale, Mississippi, to 706 Union: this marked the start of a whirlwind period when Ike was working for Phillips, Chess, and Modern (but essentially for himself), putting bands and sessions together, and generally hustling the Memphis scene. Not long after the success of ''Rocket 88'' Jackie Brenston upped and quit, whereupon Ike regrouped the band and continued bringing various aggregations along to Sam Phillips. This side emanated from a session in May 1952 which largely featured singer/drummer James Banister and singer/pianist Dennis Binder. They'd clearly lifted this number from the risqué blues favourite Dirty Mother Fuyer, cleaning it up along the way: there is some Jazzy piano in the stops, but this rhythmic gimmick soon becomes wearisome. The sloppy ending suggests that this was a far from final take.

6 - Love You, Love You Baby (Dennis Binder) (1986) 2:19 Previously Unissued
(Dennis Binder) (Copyright Control
Recorded May 3, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Dennis Binder (piano), Bobby Field (tenor saxophone),
James Banister (drums), Johnny Smith (bass)

This jumping track (from the same session as its predecessor) is essentially a loose pack age of blues clichés and raw tenor honking and squawking - the sax player (Bobby Fields) sounding truly wired, and contributing some wild primal screams. Whatever this racket is, it sure's hell ain't blues. The overall feel is one of a loose jam, which builds to a roaring climax: it was no doubt hugely enjoyable for the musicians involved, but is con siderably less so for the listener...

7 - Last Time (Woodrow Adams) (Take 1) (1986) 2:51 Not Originally Issued
(Woodrow Adams) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 24, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Woodrow Adams (vocal and guitar), Sylvester Hayes (harmonica),
Fiddlin' Joe Martin (drums)

This session rivals that by L.B. Lawson and James Scott Jr. for the most primitive that Sam Phillips ever recorded. Woodrow doesn't seem to be too concerned that his guitar is out of tune, so perhaps we shouldn't either. He's taken the tune from ''Bottle Up And Go'' and put together some ''Dirty Dozens''-style verses. Having told us there are two kinds of people he just can't stand - "a nappy-headed woman and a bald-headed man"- he goes on: "I woke up this mornin'/I woke up soon/saw a bald-headed man/and I thought it was the moon". Sylvester Hayes blows some mean amplified harmonica, while fiddlin' Joe Martin kicks Billy-be-damned out of his bass drum.

8 - Train Is Comin' (Woodrow Adams) 1977 3:01 Not Originally Issued
(Woodrow Adams) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 24, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Woodrow Adams (vocal and guitar), Sylvester Hayes (harmonica),
Fiddlin' Joe Martin (drums)

This standard train blues is a bit tidier, helped no doubt by the slower tempo. "Porter blow the whistle/firemon rung the bell/you know ever time I think about my baby/my poor heart begin to swell''. Woodrow has picked up his slide and has a fair stab at the riff which was soon to patented by Elmore James. Since he knew both Robert Nighthawk and Houston Stackhouse, it's tempting to speculate on what other slide pieces were in his repertoire. In the second of his solo choruses, Sylvester Hayes plays a couple of Rice Miller licks in between imitating the train whistle.

9 - If You Don't Want Me (Woodrow Adams) (1990) 1:03 Not Originally Issued
(Woodrow Adams) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 24, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Woodrow Adams (vocal and guitar), Sylvester Hayes (harmonica),
Fiddlin' Joe Martin (drums)

This minute-long fragment is the second half of a song that tends to underline Adams' avowal that he prepared for this session by writing down the words, practising each piece and timing them. Without Hayes' harmonica, his guitar-work follows a fairly tight boogie pattern with a couple of forays into lead lines that have a prepared air about them.

10 - Train Time (Woodrow Adams) (1987) 2:46 Not Originally Issued
(Woodrow Adams) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 24, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Woodrow Adams (vocal and guitar), Sylvester Hayes (harmonica),
Fiddlin' Joe Martin (drums)

Essentially, this is another take of ''Train Is Comin''', with Hayes doing a very brief train imitation before the band starts. This time around, "I hear the whistle blow/it blowjust like my baby is coming home", whereas in the previous take, his baby was about to leave. There are some other minor textual differences but the principal distinction is the better understanding between the three musicians.

11 - Reward For My Baby (Walter Bradford) (1977) 3:01 Not Originally Issued
(Walter Bradford) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded June 14, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Bradford (vocal), Louis Calvin Hubert (piano),
Pat Hare (guitar), Jerry Walker (drums)

Walter Bradford was a 11-year old deejay in Forrest City, Arkansas, and Phillips cut these sides with the hopes of placing the titles with Chess. (NB: a couple of months earlier, Bradford's ''Dreary Nights''/''Nuthin' But The Blues'' had been paired up for release on Sun 176, but had been withdrawn). This, however, is a powerful and arresting track and it bears an uncanny resemblance to James Cotton's ''Cotton Crop Blues'', recorded a couple of years later (see Disc 7; track 22). Both titles feature guitarist Pat Hare, and it is Hare's work which enhances the similarity. This would only seem to have been Hare's second session - and if it was, then readily apparent that he'd emerged from Arkansas with a fully-formed style, which already incorporated that familiar distorted tone. The sheer uninhibited force of his playing here really is quite remarkable - and to complete the parallel with ''Cotton Crop'' there is the same ominous piano played by L.C. Hubert, and an anguished vocal delivery by Bradford which is surprisingly similar to Cotton's.

12 - Love For My Baby (Walter Bradford) (1986) 2:14 Previously Unissued
(Walter Bradford) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded June 14, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Bradford (vocal), Louis Calvin Hubert (piano),
Pat Hare (guitar), Jerry Walker (drums)

Like Willie Nix a couple of months earlier, Bradford tackles the traditional ''Take A Little Walk'' - albeit with a slightly amended lyric. His high-pitched vocal delivery rather betrays his youth, and on this side he is frequently overshadowed by Pat Hare's merciless guitar chops.

13 - Lucy Done Moved (Louis Calvin Hubert) (1986) 2:25 Previously Unissued
(Louis Calvin Hubert) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded June 14, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Louis Calvin Hubert (vocal and piano), Walter Bradford (guitar),
Pat Hare (guitar), Jerry Walker (drums)

Although cut at the same session as the previous two sides - and even listed on Sam Phillips' session files as a Walter Bradford vocal - young Walter clearly sat this one out, leaving pianist Hubert to handle the vocals, which he does smoothly, and with some aplomb. Pat Hare is once again noticeable for some flashy asides, but the track is hampered overall by some rather uncertain drumming from Jerry Walker.

14 - West Winds Are Blowing (Walter Horton) (1986) 3:04 Previously Unissued
(Walter Horton) (Burton Limited)
Recorded September 15, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Horton (vocal and harmonica), Jack Kelly (piano),
Joe Hill Louis (guitar), Willie Nix (drums)

Why Chess shelved this and its projected flip is baffling, as musically it is extremely powerful, the combination of harp and lead guitar (Joe Hill Louis) during the break being particularly effective. The instruments blend together perfectly, and the musicians play with an empathy which is notoriously difficult to capture in a studio setting.

15 - In The Mood (Walter Horton) (1996) 3:00 Not Originally Issued
(Garland) (Copyright Control)
Recorded September 15, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Horton (harmonica), Jack Kelly (piano), Joe Hill Louis (guitar),
Willie Nix (drums)

Horton and his friends were in the process of working up ''We All Gotta Go Sometime'', which began as a version of ''She Left Me A Mule To Ride'', which Sam Phillips in turn had named after the opening verse of Grandmother Got, Grandfather Told. In fact, Horton's version of John Lee 'Sonny Boy' Williamson's ''Shotgun Blues'', which he also recorded as ''Sonny Boys Jump''. Still with us? As good as the first take is, someone must have suggested the musicians loosen up by playing ''In The Mood''. Everyone starts a bit tentatively, but Walter soon gets into his stride, riffing confidently until it was time to take a solo. During the next few choruses he works on ideas which would resurface some five months later, when he and Jimmy DeBerry recorded their version of Ivory Joe Hunter's ''I Almost Lost My Mind'' and someone gave it the misleading title of ''Easy''. (see Disc 4; track 22).

16 - Little Walter's Boogie (Walter Horton) (1996) (Take 3) 3:06 Previously Unreleased
(Walter Horton) (Burton Limited-Tristan Music)
Recorded September 15, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Horton (harmonica), Jack Kelly (piano), Joe Hill Louis (guitar),
Willie Nix (drums)

An alternate take of the track originally earmarked for the other side of Chess 1529 (i.e. ''West Winds Are Blowing'') - and perhaps the title of this side gives a clue as to why Chess pulled the plug on this release, as they were having huge success with Little Walter Jacobs at the time. Mind you, they could easily have retitled this powerful instrumental (what would have been wrong with ''Big Walter's Boogie''?) - but it seems that this coincided with their decision not to take any further product from Sam Phillips anyway. Instead they began to concentrate more on in-house productions, and Horton didn't get another chance with Chess until 1964.

17 - We All Gotta Go Sometime (Walter Horton) (Take 2) 2:55 (Previously Unreleased
(Walter Horton) (Copyright Control)
Recorded September 15, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Horton (harmonica), Jack Kelly (piano), Joe Hill Louis (guitar)

Having had a couple of goes at Grandmother Got Grandfather Told, the next two takes - while retaining some of the same verses, including the previous title verse - show some variation in the melody line and a radical change in the lyrics. These now are lifted practically piecemeal from Big Bill Broonzy's ''I Feel So Good'', with the chorus changed to 'We all gotta go sometime". While the evidence is there on tape, one can only speculate as to who suggested the change and why Horton's version remained unissued but Joe Hill Louis' own recording of the song made up one side of Sun 178 (see Disc 4; track 5).

18 - Long Gone Raymond (Raymond Hill) (1986) 2:38 Previously Unissued
(Raymond Hill) (Copyright Control)
Recorded October 8, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone), Evans Bradshaw (Piano),
Willie Kizart (guitar), John Ed Nash (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

By all accounts Raymond Hill began to record solo for Sam Phillips because he felt he wasn't getting his financial due from previous efforts with Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston. Here he honks his way tunefully through a straightahead outing, ably supported by pianist Evans Bradshaw, and mercifully confirming that not 0all sax players of the era were obsessed with replicating hippo farts. Although this track was never released, Phillips was sufficiently impressed with Hill's sax style to continue recording him over the next couple of years. In 1954 Hill finally saw a Sun release, ''Bourbon Street Jump'' b/w ''The Snuggle'' (Sun 204 - see Disc 7: tracks 22 and 23).

19 - My Baby Left Me (Raymond Hill) (1976) 2:25 Not Originally Issued
(Raymond Hill) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded October 8, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone), Evans Bradshaw (Piano),
Willie Kizart (guitar), John Ed Nash (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

It is, of course, a well-worn cliché, but as a vocalist Raymond Hill makes a pretty good sax player. Here, alongside several Of his confréres from the ROCKET 88 session, Raymond reworks Elmore James' riff. Willie Kizart's guitar is outstanding and the backing is rock solid, but there is no getting away from the shortcomings of Raymond's vocal - Which is doubtless why it was not released at the time.

20 - Somebody's Carrin' Your Rollin' On (Raymond Hill) (Take 1) (1976) 2:57 Not Originally Issued
(Raymond Hill) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded October 6, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Raymond Hill (vocal and tenor saxophone), Evans Bradshaw (piano),
Willie Kizart (guitar), John Ed nash (bass), Houston Stokes (drums)

This slow blues takes on added depth of meaning if you suppose that the singer is the 'somebody: "Have you ever loved a woman/and she's always doing you wrong/well, I'm gonna tell you if you dont know''. Now it becomes one of those ''best friend'' melodramas that so frequently square the eternal triangle. Hill's voice may be lacking in nuance but part of his limitation stems from his attempts to sing in the then-fashionable laid-back style of West Coasters like Charles Brown and Amos Milburn. He gets the job done but lacks the extra commitment that Jackie Brenston could supply, seemingly with little effort.

21 - I'm Back Pretty baby (Raymond Hill) (1977) 2:39 Not Originally Issued
(Raymond Hill) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded October 6, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Raymond Hill (vocal and tenor saxophone), Evans Bradshaw (piano),
Willie Kizart (guitar), John Ed nash (bass), Houston Stokes (drums)

Like almost all of the tracks from this session, this relies upon Willie Kizart's bedrock boogie patterns, this time played in union with the bass. Evans Bradshaw piano also gets to peep through the cracks at times, after supplying an opening solo. Hill's tenor solo is relaxed and rasping, making this perhaps the most successful and rounded performance from the session. Even so, this was his one and only outing as a budding vocalist.

22 - Seems Like A Million Years (Willie Nix) (1953) 2:41 > Sun 179-B <
(Willie Nix-Sam C. Phillips) Delta Music Incorporated
Recorded October 8, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Willie Nix (vocal and drums), Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar),
Albert ''Joiner'' Williams (piano),
James Cotton (harmonica)

A sad theme is explored here, and receives appropriately serious treatment from the cascading piano work of Albert Williams to Joe Willie Wilkins' taught guitar-playing. Nix's vocal is measured, and his drumming simply follows the rhythmic line.

23 - Baker Shop Boogie (Willie Nix) (1953) 2:42 > Sun 179-A < 
Willie Nix-Sam C. Phillips) Delta Music Incorporated
Recorded October 8, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Willie Nix (vocal and drums), Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar),
Albert ''Joiner'' Williams (piano),
James Cotton (harmonica)

This stomping boogie surely earns Nix the title of ''Jelly Roll King'' as he lauds the lady's baking technique, and even her oven! Mucho sexual innuendo indeed, and the tongue- in-cheek vocal is boosted by James Cotton's meaty harp solo.

24 - Hi-Tone Mama (Walter ''Tang'' Smith) (1953) 2:45 > J-B 606-A <
(Walter ''Tang'' Smith) (Delta Music)
Recorded October 27, 1952 at 796 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter ''Tang'' Smith (vocal) Unknown (trumpet), Jewell Briscoe (tenor saxophone),
James Luper (tenor saxophone), Charles''Chas'' Chinn (saxophone),
Harry Gibson (piano) Unknown (bass), L.T. Lewis (drums)

There must have been precious little free space in the studio when they cut this agreeable track, which features a rolling piano and a full horn section riffing behind Smith's vocal. There is a double-length instrumental break led by a very aggressive Jewel Briscoe on tenor sax, in which he unleashes his arsenal of honks and double- honks during the second instrumental chorus. This side first appeared as a 78 on Jim Bulleit's J-B label whilst Bulleit and Phillips were in the process of consummating the deal which saw the former investing in the re-launch of Sun, in January 1953. (NB: for the uninitiated, Walter Smith's middle name "Tan' is an abbreviation of "Poontang", which was in turn a local colloquialism for "puss".

25 - Every Monday Morning (Walter 'Tang' Smith) (1953) 3:08 > J-B 606-B <
(Walter ''Tang'' Smith) (Delta Music)
Recorded October 27, 1952 at 796 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter ''Tang'' Smith (vocal) Unknown (trumpet), Jewell Briscoe (tenor saxophone),
James Luper (tenor saxophone), Charles''Chas'' Chinn (saxophone),
Harry Gibson (piano) Unknown (bass), L.T. Lewis (drums)

Walter sounds more like a pussy than a poontang persuader here, as he bemoans the departure of his latest ''baby''. Pull yourself together, man! Briscoe seems to be affected by the self-pity, and delivers a rather pedestrian solo to an accompaniment that approximates a Rosco Gordon louche lope. Walter then works himself into a medium lather, singing a final verse that puts an interesting spin on the "brooks run into the river/ river runs into the sea" theme.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Sun Box 7-4 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

8 Compact disc boxed set. An Charly Records Special Products. Blue label with Charly logo on top. Sun logo left from the center. Contains 202-tracks, which includes 31 previously unreleased sides. Each disc contains comprehensive, track-by-track liner notes. On the back cover, catalog number right on top. Also included in the boxed set, an 60-pages luxury booklet with foreword and introduction notes by Neil Slaven and Roger Dopson. Liner notes in the booklet by Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Colin Escott,Cilla Huggins, and Bez Turner. The booklet also features interviews with Sam Phillips and many of the singers and musicians, plus biographical information on each artist, a detailed Session File, and a host of photographs and memorabilia.

For music (standard singles) on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Disc 4 Contains

1 - You'll Be Sorry (Houston Stokes) (1986) 2:18 Previously Unissued
(Houston Stokes) (Copyright Control)
Recorded November 18, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Houston Stokes (vocal and drums), Frank Strozier (alto saxophone),
Gilmore Daniels (tenor saxophone), Matthew Garrett (trumpet),
Evans Bradshaw (piano), Erskine McLellan (guitar)

For a couple of years Houston Stokes was virtually house drummer at Sun, so it's hardly surprising that he eventually got a session to himself - even if the fruits of that session remained largely unreleased until the appearance of the original Sun Box. Stokes appears to have been one of several singing drummers in Memphis, and proves himself to be a competent (if unremarkable) vocalist as he fronts a jumping, city-styled combo. Evans Bradshaw and Erskine McLellan on piano and guitar respectively are pretty much the stars of the show on this boogie, which also features some bootin' sax from Gilmore Daniels.

2 - Blue And Lonesome (Houston Stokes) (1986) 2:01 Previously Unissued
(Houston Stokes) (Copyright Control)
Recorded December 4, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Houston Stokes (vocal and drums), Pat Hare (guitar), Billy Love (piano),
Kenneth Banks (bass), Tom Roane (saxophone)

This one moves at a slow, rolling pace, punctuated by McLellan's fiery guitar work and anchored by some rock-steady piano from Bradshaw. Stokes' high-pitched vocal betrays his youth, but is no less effective for that. Part of the lyric is drawn from Walter Davis, and since another version was cut in Chicago by Blue Smitty, this was doubtless a popular song in the clubs of the deep South at the time.

3 - Baby's Gone And Left Me (Houston Stokes) (1986) 2:08 Previously Unissued
(Houston Stokes) (Copyright Control)
Recorded December 4, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Houston Stokes (vocal and drums), Pat Hare (guitar), Billy Love (piano),
Kenneth Banks (bass), Tom Roane (saxophone)

Taken at a very fast clip and with a galloping drumbeat, this side is essentially a workout for guitarist McLellan. The latter is something of an unknown quantity - which, given his evident virtuosity, is a great shame as he would appear to stand shoulder-to-shoulder beside men like Pat Hare and Willie Johnson. His solo here is particularly violent and of considerable length - which may just indicate that Stokes had precious few lyrics prepared!

4 - We're All Gonna Do Some Wrong (Houston Stokes) (1992) 2:14 Not Originally Issued
(Houston Stokes) (Copyright Control)
Recorded November 18, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Houston Stokes (vocal and drums), Frank Strozier (alto saxophone),
Golmore Daniels (tenor saxophone), Matthew Garrett (trumpet),
Evans Bradshaw (piano), Erskine McLellan (guitar)

From the deliberate, loping beat set by Bradshands piano, this would seem to be an attempt to emulate the Rosco Gordon school of blues. The cliché in the title is the singer's ham-fisted way of trying to get his baby back: "Now I know you didn't mean a word you told him/don't cry about that/you were just excited, baby/you were talking through your hot''. Exit baby, hatless. After a suitably intense crescendo, Gilmore Daniels steps up for another solo, this one struggling to get away from its home chord. By the last verse, Stokes' self-justifying belief that his baby will return only reinforces the message in the song's title.

5 - She Comes To See Me Sometime (Joe Hill Louis) (Take 1) (1996) 2:38 Previously Unissued
(Joe Hill louis0 (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded November 17, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal, guitar, and harmonica), Albert Williams (piano), Willie Nix (drums)

This is the very first take, recorded on November 17, 1952, of the song also known as ''She May Be Yours'' and ''Sweetest Gal In Town'', which features Joe and pianist Albert Williams. Like many blues artists, Joe was unable to sing a song exactly the same way twice, and this is the case here. Initially, he tries to do too much, adding short bursts of harmonica in between each line of the first verse. In the second verse he claims, "The reason I love my baby/she ain't always in the street". Willie Nix adds his drums to the next take, in which Joe sings, 'The reason I love my baby/she's always in the street". What's it to be, Joe? When the solo chorus arrives, someone brings up Joe's guitar rather than his harmonica and throughout this take it's hard to hear what Williams is playing. But for all its roughness, i€s interesting to com#are this with the eventual issued version (see track 7).

6 - We All Gotta Go Sometime (Joe Hill Louis) (1953) 2:34 > Sun 178-A <
(Walter Horton-Joe Hill Louis) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Probably December 8, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal), Walter Horton (harmonica),
Albert Williams (drums)

Sun 178 was one of the discs issued in January 1953 as part of Sun's re-launch programme. A favourite theme of Joe Hill's, ''Gotta Go'' is a strong, uptempo performance laced with much harp, and some particularly forceful piano-playing from Albert Williams. The trio - Willie Nix is on drums - have a drive matched by few others of this era, and this country boogie has a ferocious swing which is doubtless attributable to their many sessions working together.

7 - She May Be Yours (Sweetest Girl In Town) (Joe Hill Louis) (1953) 2:52 > Sun 178-B < 
(Joe Hill Louis-Sam Phillips) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded November 17, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal, harmonica, and guitar),
Albert Williams (piano), Willie Nix (drums)

The original B-side of Sun 178, this is a firmly-placed version of a song which Louis had several runs at, having a fluid instrumental line riding over a stomping rhythm section. Joe's first harp solo is full, and in a lower register than was usual for him, but the second is more typically "squeaky" and follows the rhythm closely. Note, too, the dramatic drawn-out ending.

8 - I'm A Poor Boy (Joe Hill Louis) (1969) 2:57 Not Originally Issued
(Joe Hill Louis) (Copyright Control)
Recorded December 8, 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal, guitar, harmonica, drums),
Albert Williams (piano)

By the time this song was recorded on December 8th, Sam Phillips may well have decided that Joe was going to relaunch Sun Records, and he'd begun to zero in on the songs which would make up the eventual single. In the meantime, he was also exploring other avenues. One, perhaps inspired by Howlin' Wolf's contract going to Chess, was to get Joe to sing 'like Wolf', something Sonny Boy Williamson was to do some years later at Chess. Joe even came up with a set of lyrics that Wolf would have had no trouble in learning: "Well, I'm lonesome and I'm troubled/l ain't got no place to go/l ain't got no mother/and my father throwed me out". Despite a strong performance by Joe, this remained unissued for several decades.

9 - Left Job Boogie (Doctor Ross) (1986) 3:45 Previously Unissued
(Isiah Ross) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Unknown Date 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Henry Hill (vocal and piano), Doctor Ross (harmonica and guitar),
Reuben Martin (washboard(Copyright Control)
Recorded Unknown Date 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Henry Hill (vocal and piano), Doctor Ross (harmonica and guitar),
Reuben Martin (washboard)

Essentially identikit Doctor - i.e. the sort of thing he could (and probably did) play all night - what this track lacks in variety it certainly makes up in sheer drive. Even forty years on it is easy to understand why Phillips took such delight in recording the music of Isiah Ross: the sound of his harmonica has an unusual, and altogether pleasing accordian-like quality - a perfect match for his percussive acoustic guitar. Quite a tight little combo, was Doctor Ross.

10 - Shake 'Em On Down (Doctor Ross) (Take 1) (1996) 2:49 Previously Unreleased
(Bukka White) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Unknown Date 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Charles Isaiah Ross (vocal, guitar and harmonica), Henry Hill (piano),
Reuben Martin (washboard)

Of the three takes of this number, this first one is the most confident and full-blooded. A pair of brief tape faults happening just before Ross' vocal begins are obviously the reason for the subsequent retakes. The tune is a Mississippi blues standard: Bukka White recorded ''Shake 'Em On Down'' in September 1937, Big Bill Broonzy replied with a ''New Shake 'Em On Down'' in the following May, and Tommy McClennan chose the same title for his recording two years later. Doctor Ross gives it a new dimension with some sterling harmonica work, including a lung-testing single note held for several measures. Henry Hill's piano is frequently lost during these takes, but he's able to make his presence suitably felt here.

11 – That Ain't Right (Doctor Ross & Henry Hill) (Take 1) (1996) 2:56 Previously Unissued
(Isiah Ross-Henry Hill) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Unknown Date 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Henry Hill (vocal and piano), Doctor Ross (harmonica and guitar),
Reuben Martin (washboard)

At least six takes of this song exist and each one begins with a different Hill soliloquy: "Yeah, Doctor Ross, you know one thing?/Boy, I want you to cut it out, 'cos you done stole my girl from me/but, anyway, I want you to get on down on these here woogies with me''. Which is exactly what Ross does, maintaining the rhythm when Hill confuses himself with his verbal asides. Reuben Martin's washboard is so closely miked that at times it sounds as though he's tap-dancing rather than thimble-picking. Later takes find Hill obsessed with bottles of Wildcat, one of which may well have bitten the dust before the session started.

12 – Down South Blues (Doctor Ross) (1972) 2:53 Not Originally Issued
(John Lee Williams) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Unknown Date 1952 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Doctor Ross (harmonica and guitar), Henry Hill (piano),
Reuben Martin (washboard)

One of many John Lee 'Sonny Boy' Williamson songs that Ross either recorded or performed, this one came from Williamson's third session in March 1938, when he was backed by Yank Rachell and Big Joe Williams. The slow, deliberate tempo leaves little for Reuben Martin to do and as usual Henry Hill's piano only makes an impression when Ross pauses for breath. Even with strong amplification, ifs possible to assess the effort that goes into his harmonica playing, since many of the notes are sounded on the intake of breath, the only time that a note may be 'bent'.

13 - Sweet Home Chicago (Honeyboy Edwards) (Take 1) (1977) 2:57 Previously Unissued
(David Edwards-Sonny Boy Williamson) (Arc Music Corporation)
Recorded End 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
David Edwards (vocal and guitar) Albert Williams (Piano),
Joe Wilkins (guitar), Dickie Houston (drums),
James Walker (washboard)

David Edwards' searing slide guitar all but overwhelms the backing here. A much-traveled, favourite song among Mississippians - Chicago was often their goal - this is a particularly powerful version with Honeyboy's hoarse, declamatory vocal creating a strong country feel.

14 - Rhumba Chillen (Albert Williams) (1977) 2:29 Not Originally Issued
(Albert Williams) (Tristan Music)
Recorded Possible 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Albert ''Joiner'' Williams (vocal and piano), Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar),
James Walker (washboard), Dickie Houston (drums)

Joe Willie Wilkins plays a guitar lick which anticipates the ''Feelin' Good'' riff throughout, but Williams' lyric takes this number back to its original source - viz: John Lee Hooker's ''Boogie Chillun''. This is an extremely tough version indeed, featuring some powerful, percussive washboard-playing from James Walker.

15 - Hoo Doo Man (Memphis Albert Williams) (1986) 2:48 Previously Unissued
(Albert Williams) (Tristan Music)
Recorded Possible 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Albert ''Joiner'' Williams (vocal and piano), Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar),
James Walker (washboard), Dickie Houston (drums)

Williams' vocal is rather more reflective on this - which is presumably his theme song and he accompanies himself with swinging, but solid piano-playing. Joe Willie Wilkins' guitar solo is quite remarkable, being at once both forceful and lyrical.

16 - Got My Application Baby (Handy Jackson) (1953) 2:54 > Sun 177-A < 
(Handy Jackson-Sam Phillips) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Handy Jackson (vocal and piano), Willie Wilkins or
Johnny London (saxophone), Robert Carter (guitar),
William Cooper (drums)

This was one of three Sun singles issued on January 30th 1953, as the re-launch programme. It features the typical over-amplification of the rhythm section - and, like the first Sun release, showcases the music of a local artist of whom Phillips thought highly. Sam recalled seeing potential for both jazz and blues in Handy Jackson (real name Gay Garth) although he could recall little else about the band, whose qualities are not fully obvious from this straightforward City Blues. Jackson brings an appealing and anguished vocal to the slightly obscure lyric, and there is a plaintive quality to the saxophone work.

17 - Trouble (Will Bring You Down) (Handy Jackson) (1953) > Sun 177-B <
(Handy Jackson-Sam Phillips) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Handy Jackson (vocal and piano), Willie Wilkins or
Johnny London (saxophone), Robert Carter (guitar),
William Cooper (drums

Piano leads off this slow blues sung with some passion by Jackson. An alto sax plays a florid obbligato throughout the song and struggles manfully through a solo chorus that is muddied by the rest of the band giving it what for in the middle register. The three verses struggle without success to avoid cliche: "I laid awoke last night watching the stars go by/our heart will ache with pain when your baby says goodbye''. Although issued along side Joe Hill Louis to relaunch Sun, Jackson never recorded again.

18 - Easy (Jimmy & Walter) (1953) 2:58 > Sun 180-A <
(Walter Horton) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded February 25, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Horton (harmonica), Jimmy DeBerry (guitar),
Houston Stokes (drums)

One of the most erroneously-titled performances of all time. Walter Horton demonstrates total control here as he climbs the harp's register to blow a harsh passage as the tune's bridge, whilst Jimmy De Berry tidies up behind him and throws in the occasional fill. In places the harmonica sounds more like a sax, belying the cheapness of the harp Walter is playing - but what impress most are the perfect timing and the sheer breadth of his musical ideas. No matter how many times you hear this one it still possesses the power to take the breath away - and like all true masterpieces, there is a poise and sense of rightness to each and every' contributory element. Truly a masterpiece!

19 - Before Long (Jimmy DeBerry) (1953) 2:56 > Sun 180-B <
(Jimmy DeBerry) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded February 25, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jimmy DeBerry (vocal and guitar), Walter Horton (harmonica),
Houston Stokes (drums)

Although credited to "Jimmy & Walter', the latter must have been taking five when this side was cut. In fact, this track serves to refute Sam Phillips' assertion (made to musicologist David Evans) that he never got a good cut out of Jimmy DeBerry. Perhaps Phillips thought he heard something in a demo or audition session that DeBerry never quite recaptured - but surely The Blues comes no purer than this marvellous recording. Without prompting, Marion Keisker remembered these lines thirty years after De Barry had sung them: "Woman I love dead and in her grave/woman I hate, see her everyday''. If ever one needed evidence that the blues was indeed folk poetry, they need look no further than this (mind you, it's probably worth adding that Big Joe Williams had used several of the same lyrics years earlier in ''Meet Me In The Bottom''). The recording is spare, but DeBerry's performance is masterful: it is a beautifully poised country blues, vocal and guitar meshing perfectly with rudimentary support from Houston Stokes on drums. Not a note or vocal inflection is wasted.

20 - Bear Cat (Rufus Thomas Jr.) (1953) 2:51 > Sun 181-A <
(Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 8, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rufus Thomas (vocal and piano), Albert Williams (piano),
Tuff Green (bass), Joe Hill Louis (guitar),
Houston Stokes (drums)

Billboard was not joking when it noted that ''Bear cat'' was "the fastest answer-song to hit the market". Big Mama Thornton's ''Hound Dog'' was shipped at the beginning of March 1953: ''Bear Cat'' was cut on March 8th, and was in the stores by the end of the month. It entered the rhythm and blues charts on April 18th and peaked at number 3 on May 2nd. It is not known exactly when Phillips was served with an injunction by Don Robey, but it seems that that appeared quite promptly, too. Gimmickry aside, this is a very primitive record, driven along by Tuff Green's percussive string bass and Joe Hill Louis's spare electric guitar work. Louis takes an extended solo, after which Rufus manages to elbow his way back in. To his credit Louis does not run short of ideas, although many were borrowed directly from Pete Lewis' the guitarist on Big Mama's original. The reality is that gimmickry really can't be wholly set aside, and as such this disc hasn't weathered as well as many of Phillips' commercially less-successful productions from this same period. Thirty years later, Sam's only comment was "I should hove known better. The melody was exactly the some as theirs, but we claimed the credit for writing the damn thing''.

21 - Walkin' In The Rain (Rufus Thomas Jr.) (1953) 2:22 > Sun 181-B <
(Rufus Thomas Jr.) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 8, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rufus Thomas (vocal and piano), Albert Williams (piano),
Tuff Green (bass), Joe Hill Louis (guitar),
Houston Stokes (drums)

Rufus does a creditable job of chanting on his own minor key blues, whilst Joe Hill Louis plays aggressively in the now-famous over-amplified and distorted style perfected at 706 Union. Louis is supported by an under-recorded acoustic guitar - possibly played by bassist Tuff Green - and a clomping piano solo handled by Rufus himself. The song only makes a brief two-bar foray into a major key.

22 - Walked All Night (Charlie Booker) (1977) Not Originally Issued
(Charlie Booker) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Probably 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Chris ''Charlie'' Booker (vocal and guitar), Oliver Sain (saxophone),
John W. ''Big Moose'' Walker (piano), Willie Dodson (bass),
Junior Blackman (drums)

Booker isn't worth a mention in the story of ''Sun Records, Good Rockin' Tonight'', a small injustice but an injustice nonetheless. His grounding in traditional Mississippi blues is evident from his adaptation of a Tommy Johnson guitar lick in amongst his steam-piston chord playing. Charlie referred to this song as ''Walkin' In The Valley'' though this doesn't appear in the lyrics. His trenchant guitar style is reinforced by the restrained but forceful bass and drums, while John ''Big Moose'' Walker's piano struggles to be heard. The harsh vibrato in Charlie's voice and his penchant for singing minor notes against the major tonality of the piece adds to the tension instilled by the deliberate tempo.

23 - Baby I'm Coming Home (Charlie Booker) (1986) Previously Unissued
(Charlie Booker) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Probably 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Chris ''Charlie'' Booker (vocal and guitar), Oliver Sain (saxophone),
John W. ''Big Moose'' Walker (piano), Willie Dodson (bass),
Junior Blackman (drums)

This bears the hallmarks of having been based on B.B. King's recent single, ''Woke Up This Morning'', which juxtaposed mambo and fast 4/4 rhythms. Oliver Sain and Willie Dodson's saxes riff away happily and it's probably Sain taking the brief tenor solo. Charlie sounds completely at home in this modern setting. This first take is marred, but only slightly, by drummer Junior Blackman neglecting to return to a mambo rhythm over the final verses.

24 - Juice Head (Rosco Gordon) (1976) 1:35 Not Originally Issued
(Rosco Gordon) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Probably End 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Probably Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano)

It seems Sam Phillips had artists queuing up to have their stab at pulling ''Hound Dog's'' teeth. Out in California, soldier Boy Houston was calling his ''Old Hen'', but ''Juice Head'' was a better idea. For one thing, it perpetuated the Sun tradition of obsession with alcohol. Was he singing from experience when he observed, "You make me so ashamed when we walk down the street/at every store you see you want a bottle of Sneaky Pete"? Some have questioned whether this is actually Rosco, and place this demo recording in 1951. Since the acetate was playing slightly fast when dubbed, some question must arise - but in any case, since Leiber and Stoller didn't write the original until mid-1952, that would be putting the tail before the "Hound Dog".

25 - V.O. Baby (Rosco Gordon ) (1976) 2:07) Not Originally Issued
(Rosco Gordon) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Probably End 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Unknown Artist Probably Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano)

Now it's the singer's turn to taste the tincture, with the help of an anonymous female impersonator who sets the elbow flexing with, "You done gone and got particular now you're drinkin'". As for Rosco, "Drinkin' my V.O baby, wine, beer and chasers too/I've o mighty lonesome feelin' and my thought is all for you". The falsetto backchat continues apace until the singer is actually put off his stroke and protests, "I'm tryin' to drink my V.O.!", as he picks up the lyric. The final verse gets typically maudlin, as the besotted sot tries to see God through the bottom of his bottle.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Sun Box 7-5 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

8 Compact disc boxed set. An Charly Records Special Products. Blue label with Charly logo on top. Sun logo left from the center. Contains 202-tracks, which includes 31 previously unreleased sides. Each disc contains comprehensive, track-by-track liner notes. On the back cover, catalog number right on top. Also included in the boxed set, an 60-pages luxury booklet with foreword and introduction notes by Neil Slaven and Roger Dopson. Liner notes in the booklet by Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Colin Escott,Cilla Huggins, and Bez Turner. The booklet also features interviews with Sam Phillips and many of the singers and musicians, plus biographical information on each artist, a detailed Session File, and a host of photographs and memorabilia.

For music (standard singles) on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Disc 5 Contains

1 - Call Me Anything, But Call Me (Big Memphis Marainey) (1953) 3:00 > Sun184-A <
(Dubrover-Milton ''Mitt'' Addington) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded April 19, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Big Memphis Lillie Mae Glover (vocal), Pat Hare (guitar),
Houston Stokes (guitar), Onzie Horne (piano and vibes),
Tuff Green (bass), Houston Stokes (drums)

Lillian Mae Glover sings in a style which has its origins in a musical era entirely different to virtually everything else on this box, her full-throated vocal delivery' being derived from vaudeville and classic blues - and the lady herself obviously considers herself an heir to this tradition, by virtue of her adopted pseudonym. On this session she was paired with Onzie Horne, the late Memphis musician who originally worked for Phillips transcribing songs for copyright purposes (Horne would work with Isaac Hayes in a later era). This track is a fascinating experiment which frankly, does not work, presenting a curious clash of styles - most notably with Pat Hare's decidedly Bluesy guitar battling out for pole position with Onzie Horne's irksome vibes.

2 - Baby No, No (Big Memphis Marainey) (1953) 2:41 > Sun 184-B < 
(Milton ''Mitt'' Addington-Marion Keisker) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded April 19, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Big Memphis Lillie Mae Glover (vocal), Pat Hare (guitar),
Houston Stokes (guitar), Onzie Horne (piano and vibes),
Tuff Green (bass), Houston Stokes (drums)

This is a considerable improvement on its A-side, being a standard jump blues complete with stops in the verse, although performed with none of the usual instrumentation. Here, Ma Glove's husky vocal is backed only by a trio - fronted by the ubiquitous Hare, who sounds a little less distorted than usual. On balance, this disc is a real oddity: it seems to have been aimed squarely at the black habitués of the local nightclub scene, and Phillips probably had little ambition of selling it outside Memphis - hence its phenomenal scarcity value (at the time the original Sun Blues Box was being compiled, Ms Glover commented that she was unable to get a copy). The song had been composed by Milton "Mitt" Addington, a consulting psychologist and amateur songwriter, together with Marion Keisker, who typed it out at her desk in the front office at 706 Union.

3 - Greyhound Blues (D.A. Hunt) (1953) 2:36 > Sun 183-B <
(Daniel Augusta Hunt) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Probably March 11, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Daniel Augusta Hunt (vocal and guitar)

If you can't get Lightnin' Hopkins, get the next best thing - and that's what Sam Phillips did when he signed D.A. Hunt. In fact Hunt's imitation was, if anything, too good - right down to his including Hopkins' muttered asides in an eerie re-creation of his mentods sound and style, ultimately stifling whatever natural talent/style he might have evolved for himself. Nonetheless this is excellent, standard Texas blues fare, and was well worth putting out.

4 - Lonesome Ol' Jail (D.A. Hunt) (1953) > Sun 183-A <
(Daniel Augusta Hunt) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Probably March 11, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Daniel Augusta Hunt (vocal and guitar)

This performance is even gloomier than the plug side, as Hunt reflects on his baby whilst locked up in a cell. The vocal drips with feeling, making it hard to believe that this was recorded at 706 Union and not some Southern penitentiary!

5 - Party Line Blues (Jimmy DeBerry) (1977) 3:06 Not Originally Issued
(Jimmy DeBerry) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded May 16, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jimmy DeBerry (vocal and guitar), Mose Vinson (piano),
Raymond Jones (drums)

A relaxed-sounding DeBerry is well assisted by Mose Vinson on this track, the latte(s jangly piano work providing a musical framework which seems to smooth off the sharp edges of the singer's performance.

6 - Take A Little Chance (Jimmy DeBerry) (1953) 2:20 > Sun 185-A < 
(Jimmy DeBerry-Sam Burns) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded May 16, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jimmy DeBerry (vocal and guitar), Raymond Jones (drums)

On the face of it, Jimmy DeBerry does not deserve the obscure status into which he seems to have been consigned. His entire recorded studio output was restricted to two pre-War singles for Vocalion and OKeh, together with his two Sun singles - a meagre output for someone possessed of such obvious talent. This side showcases his abilities as a superbly expressive vocalist: however, it also serves to demonstrate his biggest problem, i.e. one of timing - which is further exacerbated by some asthmatic-sounding groans during the solo.

7 - Time Has Made A Change (Jimmy DeBerry) (1953) 2:41 > Sun 185-B <
Recorded May 16, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jimmy DeBerry (vocal and guitar), Mose Vinson (piano),
Raymond Jones (drums)

Despite a much fuller instrumentation, this remains markedly inferior to its topside. In fact, this is perhaps the sloppiest and least enjoyable of DeBerry's recordings for Phillips, the lead instrument - viz: Mose Vinson's honky-tonk piano - actually competing with rather than complementing DeBerry's acoustic guitar. The timing around the stops is so noticeably ragged in places that it is surprising that Phillips saw fit to release this track.

8 - Feelin' Good (Little Junior's Blue Flames) (1953) 2:56 > Sun 187-A < 
(Herman Parker) (Delta Music Corporation)
Recorded July 8, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Herman Parker (vocal), Pat Hare (guitar), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone),
Floyd Murphy (guitar), William ''Struction'' Bill Johnson (piano),
Kenneth Banks (bass),Houston Stokes or John Bowers (drums)

There are several mysteries surrounding Sun's second major hit: the identity of some of the sidesmen is uncertain, and the actual recording date has proved impossible to pinpoint accurately. Furthermore, it had long been assumed that two guitarists had played on the session: however in a mid-1980's interview Sam Phillips recalled that Floyd Murphy exhibited an amazing dexterity on the guitar, viz: "...he could make it sound like there were two men playing at once''. The entire performance owes a huge debt to the King of the one-chord- boogie John Lee Hooker - although it is interesting to note that Junior Parker actually perceived himself as a slick uptown crooner, and disavowed Hooked s countrified boogies. Legend has it that Phillips was not enamoured of the material which Parker and co were auditioning, so when Sam left the studio to take a 'phone call they agreed to give him a taste of real down-home music. Phillips was knocked out, promptly recorded their efforts, and to the group's astonishment ''Feelin' Good'' became a massive hit.

9 - Fussin' And Fightin' (Little Junior's Blue Flames) (1953) 2:57 > Sun 187-B <  
(Herman Parker) (Delta Music Corporation)
Recorded July 8, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Herman Parker (vocal), Pat Hare (guitar), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone),
Floyd Murphy (guitar), William ''Struction'' Bill Johnson (piano),
Kenneth Banks (bass), Houston Stokes or John Bowers (drums)

This mellow outing - based heavily on Eddie Boyd's ''Five Long Years'' - stands in marked contrast to its topside, being rather closer stylistically to what Junior would have preferred to have been singing. He had already defined his croony blues style - somewhat akin to that of Roy Brown - although the band brings rather more of a Jazzy feel to his support here than subsequent sidesmen would. When he revived ''Five Long Years'' for Duke in 1958, Parker's vocal was virtually a note-for-note reconstruction of this performance.

10 - Work With Her Boy (Shy Guy Douglas) (1996) 1:51 Previously Unreleased
(Shy Guy Douglas) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Probably June 1, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Thomas ''Shy Guy'' Douglas (vocal), Unknown (guitar),
Possibly Richard Armstrong (piano)

Nothing beyond his records is known about Douglas: from the nod to jive parlance contained in this and ''Hip Shakin' Mama'', he already sounds rather anachronistic. In the latter song, he claimed he was a ''frame-rockin' poppa''. In ''Work With Her'', he instructs, "If you meet a little chick and you think the gal got the right kick, work with her". The 'chick' also had to be 'built up from the ground, kinda streamlined' and had to have 'some loot to ploy behind'. His accompanists are similarly unknown quantities, although both acquit themselves well enough.

11- Detroit Arrow Blues (Shy Guy Douglas) (1977) 2:08 Not Originally Issued
(Shy Guy Douglas) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Probably June 1, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Thomas ''Shy Guy'' Douglas (vocal), Unknown (guitar),
Possibly Richard Armstrong (piano)

Whoever he is, the pianist shows some astonishing facility on this song, employing a constantly florid left-hand rhythm pattern that almost overwhelms what his equally facile right-hand is playing. For all that, this is yet another train blues, with at least one of the verses similar to that used by Woodrow Adams in ''Train Time''. Shortly afterwards, Douglas changed his allegiance to Nashville and signed with Excello. A fresh recording of ''Detroit Arrow'', backed by pianist Skippy Brooks and probably the Kid King Combo, was released in May 1953.

NOTE: Years ago, it was assumed that the William Stewart who recorded unamplified blues at Sun was the same guy who played unamplified acoustic guitar with the Prisonaires. Even Sam Phillips claimed to remember Stewart playing cotton-patch blues. This, we're certain now, is not the case. For one thing, the guitarist with the Prisonaires was a harmonically sophisticated player; Talking Boy Stewart was most assuredly not. And a newly-discovered note in the tape box dates the session 1951 when the Prisonaires were securely confined elsewhere. That said, we know very little of William ''Talking Boy'' Stewart.

12 - Country Farm Blues (William ''Talking Boy'' Stewart) (1986) 1:54 Previously Unissued
(William Stewart) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 14 or 15, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
William ''Talking Boy'' Stewart (vocal and guitar)

Update: The presence of old Mississippi looms heavy over ''Country Farm Blues''. With a layer of crackle and hiss, you could easily believe that it had been recorded twenty or more earlier's. In fact, Son House recorded a more-or-less unrelated ''Mississippi County Farm Blues'', as did Bukka White and others. Both House and White knew whereof they sung because both had served time at Mississippi's Parchman Farm (as had Elvis Presley's father), but Stewart leaves no clue to tell us which country farm is on his mind. true, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins were selling records rooted in rural blues around 1951, but they brought a sheen of modernity (and in Hooker's case electricity) to their music. William Stewart gave every indication of having just arrived from the late 1920s.

There's some confusion about exactly who's gone out on the country farm; in his second verse, he sings, "Well my gal done left me, gone out on the county farm". Its a bit like, "Have a sandwich, my feet are killing me". Given the context of the other verses, perhaps there should've been an "I've" separating the two statements.

13 - They Call Me Talking Boy (William Stewart) (1977) 2:20 Not Originally Issued
(William Stewart) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 14 or 15, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
William ''Talking Boy'' Stewart (vocal and guitar)

Update: It don't get much more primitive than this. This is back-porch music to the extreme: one foot, one guitar. Like many bluesmen of this style, Stewart changes chords when he wants to, and that muse seems to be pretty erratic. The lyrics are a string of blues cliches, and the title is possibly a Sam Phillips concoction. This track is more a documentary than an attempt at commercial recording. This song is a calling card, ''They call me Talking Boy/but that's well understood/it ain't my name/my name is William Stewart''. As with several of these songs, some verses are wholly unintelligible.

14 - Rattlesnake Mama (William Stewart) (1977) 2:47 Not Originally Issued
(William Stewart) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 14 or 15, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
William ''Talking Boy'' Stewart (vocal and guitar)

Another figure from the past is evoked here, this time the shade of Blind Boy Fuller, who recorded ''I'm A Rattlesnakin' Daddy'' back in 1935. This time the accompaniment is strummed but the untutored air remains intact. Stewart sings in a curiously adenoidal tone, which again poses the question, is he imitating someone else's delivery? He also lapses into a coarser vocal tone at times, before retreating back up his nasal passages.

15 - Forty Four Blues (William Stewart) (1977) 3:01 Not Originally Issued
(William Stewart) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 14 or 15, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
William ''Talking Boy'' Stewart (vocal and guitar)

This is performed at a faster tempo than most of his repertoire and doesn't follow the verse structure of the familiar ''Forty Four Blues'' in other bluesmen's songbooks: "Well I said, 'Good mornin' Mr pawnshop man'/just as I rapped upon his door/'l ain't in no hurry but I need my 44''. Stewart even manages to put a macabre turn on the one verse tag he does use: "l wore my 44 so long it made my shoulder sore/after I find that woman (and) kill her, won't wear that thing no more''. In the light of Pat Hare's later ''Gonna Murder My Baby'', is there an added dimension to this verse?

16 - Blues Train (Tot Randolph) (1986) 2:34 Previously Unissued
Theautry "Tot" Randolph (Copyright Control)
Recorded June 23, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Tot Randolph (vocals and baritone saxophone), Charles Lloyd (alto saxophone),
Willie Dodson (tenor saxophone), L.C. Hubert (piano), Willie Johnson (guitar),
Tuff Green (bass), Junior Blackman (drums)

A rare sax instrumental outing as executed by Theautry "Toe' Randolph. There's plenty of energy and enthusiasm here as the ''Blues Train'' rolls along, although it must be admitted that the baritone sax is an unusual instrument to find occupying a solo role. Here, Randolph's baritone is pretty impassioned in comparison to Raymond Hill's earlier tenor style - but compared with Willie Johnson's guitar work on this track, even Raymond is asleep at the wheel! Johnson literally tears the session apart, ranging from some fiery unison work to a solo lead-in which borders on the atonal. Although barely audible, alto man Charles Lloyd is credited with being on the session: 25 years on he would become the flower child of the sax world.

17 - Save That Money (Rufus Thomas Jr.) (1953) 2:42  > Sun 188-B < 
(Rufus Thomas Jr.) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded June 30, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rufus Thomas (vocal), Matt Murphy (guitar), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone),
William ''Struction'' Bill Johnson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

This remains Thomas's finest city blues, and a welcome respite from the novelties which brought him such fame and success. Note that the lyric refers to the Depression of 1929-30, and updates a traditional theme. Thomas sings with confidence, and the band is in splendid form with Floyd Murphy etching a guitar pattern over the riffing sax of James Wheeler.

19 - Tiger Man (King Of the Jungle) (Rufus Thomas Jr.) (1953) 2:48  > Sun 188-A < 
(Joe Hill Louis-Sam Burns) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded June 30, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rufus Thomas (vocal), Matt Murphy (guitar), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone),
William ''Struction'' Bill Johnson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass)
Houston Stokes (drums)

By this stage Rufus's menagerie was beginning to stock up, although thankfully, the funky chicken was still more than a decade away! Joe Hill Louis and Sam Burns (aka Sam Phillips) were clearly hoping they were wearing their hitmakers' hats when they concocted this one, whilst Murphy contributes a rather tasty repetitive guitar lick (which Elvis would copy note-for-note fifteen years later) and an effective, primitive solo. Once again Rufus comes across as an engaging personality - but a somewhat limited singer, with ragged timing. Surprisingly, the disc failed to chart, and Rufus moved on to recording for Phillips' local competitor Lester Bihari, at Meteor.

19 - Believe I'll Settle Down (Gilmore) (1977) 2:15 Not Originally Issued
(Boyd Gilmore) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded July 15, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Boyd Gilmore (vocal and guitar), Joe Willie ''Pinetop'' Perkins (piano),
Adolph Duncan (saxophone), Earl Hooker (guitar),
Little Walter Horton (harmonica),
Unknown (bass), Willie Nix (drums)

A fine rolling blues in the tradition that B.B. King was busy making his very own. Gilmore's vocal, although huskier than B.B.'s, follows the same familiar pattern, and Earl Hooker's guitar contrives to sound like a disciple - or at the very least, a close relative - of Lucille. There's some fine two-handed piano from Pinetop Perkins, but the tentative nature of the track is revealed at the end when Gilmore stops singing midway through the last verse, and we get a rather unexpected 4-bar instrumental ending.

20 - Move On Down The Line (Earl Hooker) (1981) 2:15 Not Originally Issued
(Earl Zebedee Hooker) (Copyright Control)
Recorded July 15, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Earl Hooker (vocal and guitar), Joe Willie ''Pinetop'' Perkins (piano),
Adolph Duncan (tenor saxophone), Little Walker (harmonica),
Unknown (bass), Willie Nix (drums)

As his future records would attest, Earl Hooker spent most of his time avoiding the role of singer - so this performance takes on a little extra significance. Although light and insubstantial it's not an unpleasant voice, certainly capable of riding the rocking tempo driven by a drummer some have identified as Willie Nix. The call-and-response choruses which follow beg the involvement of a larger band, with more than just Adolph Duncan on tenor sax.

21 - Instrumental (The Drive) (Earl Hooker) (1977) 2:19 Not Originally Issued
(Earl Zebedee Hooker) (Copyright Control)
Recorded July 15, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Earl Hooker (vocal and guitar), Joe Willie ''Pinetop'' Perkins (piano),
Adolph Duncan (tenor saxophone), Little Walker (harmonica),
Unknown (bass), Willie Nix (drums)

As well as his sole vocal excursion, Hooker recorded a number of instrumental features which were left untitled at the time. This is a later, third take of one which other compilers have called ''The Drive''. In the earlier takes, Hooker had had some trouble with the introductory riff, which here he simplifies by leaving out a set of repeats. What follows stays for the most part in the middle register, once again pointing to his awareness of jump band etiquette. It's not known who plays the electric bass on this session: it would be facile to suggest Boyd Gilmore, but he was a capable guitarist.

22 - The Hucklebuck (Earl Hooker) (1977) 3:04 Not Originally Issued
(Paul Williams-Andy Gibson Alfred) (Tradition Music)
Recorded August 10, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Earl Hooker (guitar), Willie "Pinetop" Perkins (piano),
Kenneth Banks (bass), Edward Lee Irvin (drums)

Baritone saxman and bandleader Paul Williams recorded it in December 1948 and it remained in the rhythm and blues charts for 32 weeks after its entry on February, 11 1949. Earl Hooker manages to give some idea of the original when he moves from playing the main melody on single strings to a riff that approximates the sound of a horn section. The lyric exhorted dancers to "start o little movement in your sacroiliac": at a time when 'ignorance with style' ensures that the young can hardly pronounce the word, let alone spell it, lucky that Hooker's version is purely instrumental.

23 – Blue Guitar (Earl Hooker) (1989) 2:44 Not Originally Issued
(Earl Zebedee Hooker) (Copyright Control)
Recorded July 15, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Earl Hooker (vocal and guitar), Joe Willie ''Pinetop'' Perkins (piano),
Adolph Duncan (tenor saxophone), Little Walker (harmonica),
Unknown (bass), Willie Nix (drums)

Hooker had first recorded this tune, his arrangement of ''Rock Me Baby'', in Florida nine months earlier for King Records, and it was later issued by mistake on his cousin John Lee Hooked s King album as ''Who's Been Jivin' You''. The purity of tone which he achieves with a slide is the equal of his teacher and mentor, Robert Nighthawk. Later in the piece he alternates slide strokes with finger picked runs on the bass strings, evidence of the fact that he was one of the few guitarists who had no need of retuning his guitar to an open chord.

24. Pinetop's Boogie Woogie (Pinetop Perkins) (1977) 2:44 Not Originally Issued
(Clarence Smith) (Copyright Control)
Recorded July 15, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Willie ''Pinetop'' Perkins (piano), Earl Hooker (guitar),
Adolph Duncan (tenor saxophone), Little Walker (harmonica),
Unknown (bass), Willie Nix (drums)

One of the few artists in this compilation still to be working, Perkins grew up around Willie Love and John Lee Hooker, and left Boyd Gilmore's band to join Robert Nighthawk. During the 1940's he took to playing Pinetop Smith's magnum opus - and was accorded the nickname Pinetop for that, and to differentiate him from guitarist Joe Willie Wilkins. His version of ''Pinetop's Boogie Woogie'' is unspectacular but competent, with even Earl Hooker confining himself to comping chords on the off-beat.

25 - Off The Wall (Walter Horton) (1977) 2:13 Not Originally Issued
(Walter Jacobs) (Tristan Music)
Recorded July 15, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Earl Hooker (vocal and guitar), Joe Willie ''Pinetop'' Perkins (piano),
Adolph Duncan (tenor saxophone), Little Walker (harmonica),
Unknown (bass), Willie Nix (drums)

Discographies not with standing, we believe that this track comes from the same July 1953 session as the above Gilmore/Hooker/Perkins titles. This has previously been attributed to a session featuring Pat Hare and Joe Hill Louis, neither of whose guitar or drum styles are evident here. The obvious intention is to reproduce Little Walter's original, which had been released three months earlier. It takes Horton two choruses before he sets an original course, while the band modestly provide the simplest backing before trying to bring the tune to a conclusion in the manner of Little Walter's Chicago cohorts.

26 - Off The Wall (Two Incomplete Takes) (Walter Horton) (1996) 2:13 Previously Unreleased
(Walter Jacobs) (Tristan Music)
Recorded July 15, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Earl Hooker (vocal and guitar), Joe Willie ''Pinetop'' Perkins (piano),
Adolph Duncan (tenor saxophone), Little Walker (harmonica),
Unknown (bass), Willie Nix (drums)

Also present on the tape from this session is the crude combination of two incomplete takes included here to show how the arrangement was developed. The first of these takes runs just over a minute and shows how the drummer - be it Willie Nix or Edward Irvin - had started with Fred Below's machine-gun snare figure. Horton is noticeably less inventive at this stage but Earl Hooker pushes things along, playing boogie patterns close to the bridge of his guitar. When this take falls apart, another cuts in at a roughly equivalent place. This time Horton is playing with a much more muted tone, whilst Hooker maintains his precise rhythm. The band once again attempt an ending worthy of the musicians they are copying.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Sun Box 7-6 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

8 Compact disc boxed set. An Charly Records Special Products. Blue label with Charly logo on top. Sun logo left from the center. Contains 202-tracks, which includes 31 previously unreleased sides. Each disc contains comprehensive, track-by-track liner notes. On the back cover, catalog number right on top. Also included in the boxed set, an 60-pages luxury booklet with foreword and introduction notes by Neil Slaven and Roger Dopson. Liner notes in the booklet by Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Colin Escott, Cilla Huggins, and Bez Turner. The booklet also features interviews with Sam Phillips and many of the singers and musicians, plus biographical information on each artist, a detailed Session File, and a host of photographs and memorabilia.

For music (standard singles) on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Disc 6 Contains

1 - Beggin' My Baby (Little Milton) (1953) (2:23) > Sun 194-A <
(James Milton Campbell) (Memphis Music Incorporated)
Recorded July 28, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton Campbell (vocal and guitar), Ike Turner (piano),
C.W. Tate (tenor saxophone), Jesse Knight (bass),
Willie Sims (drums)

Milton Campbell was the second most talented performer Ike Turner brought along to Sun (Wolf being - unquestionably - the first), and whilst at this stage of the game he didn't possess an identifiable style of his own, he was capable of turning in an amazing range of convincing performances - truly a chameleon of The Blues (although arguably, this was just about the last type of artist that lawsuit-prone Sam Phillips needed on his roster). Here, Milton turns his attention to a barely-disguised version of Fats Domino's ''Goin' To The River'' - but despite its derivative nature, his performance is totally arresting. From the rolling and melancholy 4-bar piano introduction it was clear that ''Beggin''' was a winner: even Billboard concurred, giving it highest marks and observing on January 23, 1954: "here's a sock rendition of a most melodic new effort by Milton over a pounding backing. The lyric has suspense, and Milton sings it for all he's worth. A solid slicing that could easily break out for the big coin''.

2 - Somebody ToId Me (Little Milton) (1953) 2:58  > Sun 194-B <
(James Milton Campbell) (Memphis Music Incorporated)
Recorded July 28, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton Campbell (vocal and guitar), Ike Turner (piano),
C.W. Tate (tenor saxophone), Jesse Knight (bass),
Willie Sims (drums)

Once again Milton contributes a highly-charged blues performance, this time deep in B.B. King territory. However, it somehow lacks the impact of his best Sun work, predominantly because he seems constrained by the mambo rhythm: in fact, Milton's vocal phrasing is clearly ill-suited to the latin rhythm and his guitar does not get the chance to shine, being limited to a supporting role. Fortunately, the band breaks free of the dreaded mambo during the chorus and extended instrumental break.

3 - Dead Letter Blues (Johnny O'Neal Johnson) (1976) 3:37 Not Originally Issued.
(Johnny O'Neil Johnson) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded August 2, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Johnny O'Neal (vocal), James Wheeler (saxophone), Thomas Reed (saxophone),
Bonnie Turner (piano), Ike Turner (guitar and 2nd vocal),
Jesse Knight (bass), Willie Sims (drums)

O'Neal Johnson - who'd previously recorded for King - was a long-time cohort of Ike Turned s. He finally got a session at 706 Union in August 1953, and proceeded to lay down a surprisingly strong (if minimal) body of work. This song is a reworking of the old death letter theme, with more than a passing nod to the kingdom of B.B. Ike Tumer throws in some rather engaging guitar fills, and a solo reminiscent of his work on Billy "The Kid" Emerson's ''No Teasin' Around''. This is an extremely powerful performance overall, clearly worthy of commercial release at the time. (NB: the take used here is different to that used on the original Sun LP Blues Box).

4 - Johnny's Dream (Take 2) Johnny O'Neal Johnson) (1986) 2:56 Previously Unissued.
(Johnny O'Neil Johnson) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded August 2, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Johnny O'Neal (vocal), James Wheeler (saxophone), Thomas Reed (saxophone),
Bonnie Turner (piano), Ike Turner (guitar and 2nd vocal),
Jesse Knight (bass), Willie Sims (drums)

This little psychodrama - which features the acting and musical talents of Ike and Bonnie Turner - was actually cut for release on Sun. Recorded in August 1953, it was mastered on both 78 and 45-rpm in January 1954 - but it somehow never quite made it onto the release schedule. The most likely scenario is that Sam Phillips ran short of cash and held this one back, alongside a couple of Mose Vinson sides which had been mastered at the same time. Meanwhile, Ike Turner decided the idea was too strong to be left on the back burner until Phillips' finances had improved, to which end he returned to Clarksdale where he recorded essentially the same song as Sinner's Dream, with Eugene Fox. He promptly sold it to the Chess brothers in Chicago, who lost no time in releasing it. Yet another version by Fox was produced by Ike and flogged to RPM a few months later - whilst this original lay in the can for more than thirty years. (NB: the take used here is different to that used on the original Sun LP Blues Box).

5 - Ugly woman (Johnny O'Neal Johnson) 2:27 Not Originally Issued.
(Johnny O'Neil Johnson) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded August 2, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Johnny O'Neal (vocal), James Wheeler (saxophone), Thomas Reed (saxophone),
Bonnie Turner (piano), Ike Turner (guitar and 2nd vocal),
Jesse Knight (bass), Willie Sims (drums)

From the same session, this song, of course, has its origins deep in the dozens ("Your old lady is so ugly that...") welded to the ''Rocket 88'' riff. Things sound pretty spirited on this, the third take - although before the session was completed, Sam Phillips had the boys try the song ten times in all, and yet surprisingly, never released any of them. The lyrical content is strong throughout, and Ike Turner weighs in with a stinging guitar solo which never falls short of ideas on a memorable good-time record. (NB: the take used here is different to that used on the original Sun LP Blues Box).

6 - Mistreatin' Boogie (Mose Vinson) (1986) 2:31 Nor Originally Issued
(Mose Vinson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded September 9, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Mose Vinson (vocal and piano), Joe Hill Louis (guitar),
Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Israel Franklin (drums)

Tracks 6-13 all emanate from a session which took place on September 9, 1953, largely devoted to pianist Vinson. All eight sides are of a uniformly high standard, which makes it all the more surprising that they should have languished unheard and unissued until the appearance of the original Sun Box. ''Mistreatin''' - a fairly straightforward rip-off of Pinetop's ''Boogie Woogie'' is classic stuff (although drummer Israel Franklin occasionally muffs the tempo along the way), pumped along by Vinson's powerful left hand and repeated right-hand triplets. Indeed, Mose really shines on this track, taking no less than five solo choruses, running through the whole gamut of tremelos, triplet figures, and other classic boogie devices.

7 - Worry You Of My Mind (Mose Vinson) (1986) 3:10 Previously Unissued
(Mose Vinson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded September 9, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Mose Vinson (vocal and piano), Joe Hill Louis (guitar),
Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Isreal Franklin (drums)

Several takes of this track were recorded, this version being the first. It is clearly a close relative of ''44 Blues'' (see track 12), being a fairly basic 12-bar blues carried by Mose's characteristically high, nasal, and somewhat garbled vocals. Joe Hill Louis vamps aggressively in the background, chiming in with the occasional set of slashing notes behind the first phrase of the verse, whilst a harmonica (presumably, Walter Horton - although aural evidence would suggest perhaps not) is also present.

8 - Hydramatic Woman (Joe Hill Louis) (1969) 2:39 Not Originally Issued
(Joe Hill Louis) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 27, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal and guitar), Walter Horton )harmonica),
Albert Williams (piano), Unknown (drums)

Louis had previously recorded this song as ''Automatic Woman'', both terms referring to the automatic transmissions found on early 1950's General Motors cars - whilst the songs lyrics consist of a series of clever car/woman metaphors. The solo work is shared by both harmonica (Horton) and Joe's guitar, although the distortion tends to blend the two instruments together.

11 - Tiger Man (Joe Hill Louis) (1969) 2:56 Not Originally Issued
(Joe Hill Louis-Sonny Burns (Pseudonym Sam Phillips) (Copyright Control)
Burns is the maiden name of Phillips wife, Becky (Rebecca)
Recorded Spring 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal and guitar), Albert Williams (piano),
Walter Horton (harmonica), Willie Nix (drums)

It seems odd that the group should attempt this song, as Rufus Thomas's version (which featured composer Louis on guitar) was released later that same month. Nonetheless, this title is also a showcase for some splendid harmonica playing, and once again Louis's guitar features lowend distortion, giving it a very full sound, whilst the two instruments blend well together during the somewhat chaotic solo. Louis's vocals seem a lot more "open" than Vinson's, and he often talks his way through part of a line. His final held note suggests an interesting concept of tuning.

10 - Shine Boy (Joe Hill Louis) (1986) Not Originally Issued
(Joe Hill Louis) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 27, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Joe Hill Louis (vocal and guitar), Walter Horton (harmonica),
Albert Williams or Mose Vinson? (piano), Unknown (drums)

Guitarist Joe Hill Louis (who also takes lead vocals) and Walter Horton on harp rather dominate proceedings on this, a revival of the old shoe-shine shuffle. This one actually remains something of an oddity, as Mose Vinson had no clear recollection of having played on it. Nonetheless the original session tape confirms that it was certainly cut alongside the other titles, and both Sam Phillips' session notes and aural evidence would seem to disprove Mose's memoirs.

11 - Reap What You Sow (Mose Vinson) (1986) 2:44 Not Originally Issued
(Mose Vinson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded September 9, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Mose Vinson (vocal and piano), Joe Hill Louis (guitar),
Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Isreal Franklin (drums)

A medium-tempo blues with a typically fine Vinson vocal and a sprightly piano solo, marred only by Joe Hill Louis's difficulty in figuring out what key the rest of the band are playing in - which particularly shows up in his low end runs.

12 - 44 Blues (Vinson) (1986) 2:35 Not Originally Issued
(Mose Vinson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded September 9, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Mose Vinson (vocal and piano), Joe Hill Louis (guitar),
Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Isreal Franklin (drums)

This title was Mose's signature tune: "It was an old song way back in my father's day, and I just put some words to it" The ringing authority of Mose's opening descending line immediately announces that this is something special. The band generally just vamps along behind Vinson, double-timing everything, giving the impression that they are playing a 24-bar blues, whilst Mose sings a 12-bar over the top. The nett effect is a non-stop backbeat which sounds as though the drummer is hitting the offbeat of all four beats in the bar! Louis takes the solo playing out some call-and-response with himself. During the solo, Phillips boosts the level of the drums and bass - and this, coupled with the bass playing double-time, gives the effect of speeding the track up.

13 - Come See Me (Mose Vinson) (1986) 2:12 Not Originally Issued
(Mose Vinson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded September 9, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Mose Vinson (vocal and piano), Joe Hill Louis (guitar),
Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Isreal Franklin (drums)

The second of three takes of this track. It opens with piano, bass, and hi-hat doodling on a variation of shortnin' bread, and after a couple of 12-bar vamped verses, Vinson takes a pair of solo choruses rooted in the swing style, throwing in some boogie for good measure at the beginning of the second.

14 - Mystery Train (Little Junior's Blue Flames) (1953) 2:25 > Sun 192-A < 
(Herman Parker-Sam Phillips) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded August 5, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Herman Parker (vocal), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone),Floyd Murphy (guitar),
William ''Struction'' Bill Johnson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes or John Bowers (drums)

This beautifully poised blues is one of the widely acknowledged genuine classics to emerge from Phillips' early output. Everything meshes together so effectively that the end result is something considerably greater than the sum of its parts. Mind you, those parts are disarmingly simple: Junior's melodic song and high-pitched vocal; the gentle rhythm established by bass and drums; a breathy sax; an instantly-memorable guitar riff (whilst the piano is buried in the mix). The disc is a deeply affecting, personal and atmospheric blues - which sadly, stood precious little chance of emulating the success of its predecessor. But perhaps the greatest "mystery/' is the derivation of the sonthe time Elvis recorded it in 1955, Sam Phillips had added his name to the copyright (possibly in part-settlement of Parker's contract dispute) and the publishing had been transferred to Phillips' Hi-Lo Music. The mellow tone of Parker's original contrasts sharply with Presley's rather more famous version, which exudes a brash confidence and cool assertiveness.

15 - Love My Baby (Little Junior's Blue Flames) (1953) 2:36 > Sun 192-B <
(Herman Parker) (Memphis Music)
Recorded August 5, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Herman Parker (vocal), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone), Floyd Murphy (guitar),
William ''Struction'' Bill Johnson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass)
Houston Stokes or John Bowers (drums)

This extraordinary track certainly qualifies for inclusion on any list of early rock and roll recordings - and it is also arguably one of the earliest rockabilly records. However, because it originally appeared on the flip of ''Mystery Train'' it is frequently overlooked - but when Jud Phillips went out on the road in November 1953, many deejays were picking up on ''Love My Baby'' as the follow-up to ''Feelin' Good''. The track sports an instantly-catchy guitar riff (although the guitarist - Murphy - loses it momentarily, blowing a chord-change during the third verse), whilst Parker's high, creamy tenor soars over the instrumental backdrop. Three years later - when Sun's blues era was firmly consigned to back catalogue status - Phillips would play Junior Parkers uptempo numbers to his rockabilly artists, instructing the guitarists to duplicate Floyd Murphy's riffs. Ironically, the guitar work on this track has crept into the psyche of a whole generation of rockabilly and rock guitarists who've probably never, ever heard of Junior Parker, much less guitarist Floyd Murphy. Perhaps the first to be influenced by this solo was Sun's most famous guitarist, Scotty Moore.

16 - Terra Mae (Deep Down In The Ground) (Doctor Ross) (1986) 2:43 Not Originally Issued
(Isiah Ross) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Unknown Date 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Doctor Ross (vocal, harmonica and guitar),
Reuben Martin (washboard)

Researchers are occasionally prone to effect a curious selectivity when it comes to deciphering the labels on old tape boxes. Whilst ''Housten Boise'' is silently amended to ''Houston Boines'', this title - clearly identified on its box as ''Tailor Mae'' - was identified on the original Sun LP Blues Box as the incomprehensible "Terra Moe". It is in fact a word-for-word recreation of the opening verses from John Lee ''Sonny Boy'' Williamson's ''Deep Down In The Ground'', recorded for Bluebird in June 1938. In a 1965 interview, Ross even referred to this recording by Williamson's title. Williamson took his version of the song from Sleepy John Estes, and Ross repeats Sonny Boy's mishearing of Estes' line, "That woman is tailor made, she ain't no hand-me-down".

17 - Come Back Baby (Doctor Ross) (1953) 2:48 > Sun 193-A < 
(Isiah Ross) (Memphis Blues)
Recorded October 3, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Doctor Ross (vocal, harmonica and guitar),
Reuben Martin (washboard

The music of Doctor Ross is instantly recognisable - and true to form, this track is totally engaging. But it certainly ain't music to sit still through. How this side manages to retain its charm more than forty years after its release is anyone's guess: surely it has nothing whatsoever to do with the entirely forgettable lyric, nor the one-chord musical backing - whatever, somehow the good Doctor with his warm delivery and back country dance rhythm manages to charm the hell out of all us patients. A damn fine track, and no mistake.

18. Doctor Ross TEXAS HOP (Take l) (Ross) (1977) 2:42 Not Originally Issued
(Isaiah Ross) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded October 3, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Doctor Ross (vocal and harmonica), Reuben Martin (washboard),
Willie Galatin (guitar), Robert Moore (broom)

This was one of Doctor Ross' generic boogie workouts that all seemed to follow a roughly equivalent course. There is little to choose between the two takes he recorded of this piece - the significant difference being that he plays some three choruses of harmonica before chanting the title, whereas on the second take, plagued by interference from the guitar's amplifier, he chants the title after just one. In 1965 he identified the musicians present as himself singing and playing harmonica, Willey Galatin on guitar, Reuben Martin on washboard and Robert Moore, "they called him Hoop", pushing a broom.

19 - Chicago Breakdown (Doctor Ross) (Take 2) (1996) 2:56 Previously Unreleased
(Isaiah Ross) (Memphis Music)
Recorded October 3, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Doctor Ross (vocal and harmonica), Reuben Martin (washboard)

Recorded at the same session as ''Texas Hop'', there are three takes of ''Chicago Breakdown'', of which the third was issued on Sun 193. On this and the second take, the singer refers to it as "Doctor Ross' ''Chicago Breakdown", but drops his name from the issued version. This first take is slower than the following two and the verse structure is different: here his assertion, "You know, I was born and raised right down in Tunica, Mississippi", is almost an afterthought, whereas it becomes the second verse of version two. As he sings here, he prefers the ''Chicago Breakdown'' to the 'old Hambone'.

20 - Cat Squirrel (Doctor Ross) (1985) 2:20 Not Originally Issued
(Isaiah Ross) (Copyright Control)
Recorded November 29, 1951 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Doctor Ross (vocal and harmonica), Reuben Martin (washboard)

This track has never been placed accurately in any of the known sessions. Previous commentators have presumed that it's a solo performance with Ross playing both harmonica and guitar: however, if that was so, then both harmonica and guitar would end simultaneously, which they plainly do not. So it's to be supposed that this is a duet between Ross and most probably Galatin, recorded during one of the 1953 sessions. Ross recorded ''Cat Squirrel'' again in Detroit in 1959 for Fortune, and it's that version which Cream used for their debut album, Fresh Cream.

21 - My Baby (James Cotton) (1954) 2:23 > Sun 199-A <
(James Cotton) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded December 7, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
James Cotton (vocals), Tom Roane (tenor saxophone), Harvey Simmons (tenor saxophone),
Pat Hare (guitar), Billy Love (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass), Houston Stokes (drums)

It's not known whether James Cotton's pronunciation (i.e. as in "My Vavy") was slurred by his Mississippi origins, or the contents of a bottle of sauce - but it's readily evident that he must have attended the same school of diction as Jimmy Reed. Nonetheless, Cotton manages to crank up a pretty rocking opus out of a fairly modest riff, whilst the saxes (Harvey Simmons and Tom Roane) and guitar (Pat Hare) cover the ground that might normally have been handled by a full horn section. Both solos evince distinct Jazz feelings.

14.2 - Straighten Up Baby (James Cotton) (1954) 2:20 > Sun 199-B <
(James Cotton) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded December 7, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
James Cotton (vocals), Tom Roane (tenor saxophone), Harvey Simmons (tenor saxophone),
Pat Hare (guitar), Billy Love (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass), Houston Stokes (drums)

It really is unclear which side of Sun 199 was the designated plug side, as arguably both this and ''My Baby'' are competent performances with solid riffs. However, neither side quite possesses that special excitement which would distinguish them from the other thirty or forty rhythm and blues releases of that particular week in April 1954.

23 - Carry My Business On (Houston Boines) (1976) 2:29 Not Originally Issued
(Houston Boines) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded December 23, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Houston Boines (vocals), Milton Campbell (guitar), Ike Turner (piano),
Jesse Knight (bass), Lonnie Hayes (drums)

Houston Boines remains something of an enigma, as very little is known about him. Even Little Milton, who played on this session and was responsible for bringing Boines along to the studio, knew little about him - as he recalled in a 1982 interview : "l met him in Leland, Mississippi...he played harmonica. I don't know where he is now - nobody seems to. He was quite an old guy when we recorded...he would be at least 70 by now." Nonetheless, Boines achieved an interesting feat: he wrote and performed the song which may well be the most lyrically noteworthy in this entire collection (NB: this is an alternate take to the version which appeared on the original Sun Box). However, we will probably never know, because his diction and delivery are sufficiently inaccessible to tempt, but ultimately frustrate, the listener. IVs clearly a backwoods story/song, and it contains some fascinating couplets that can be instilled with as much (or as little) significance as you like - e.g: "I rode a white horse called Silver Streak one day/I met Old Man Quiggle and Old Boston along the way." There again, he could merely have been at the juice.

Undoubtedly, the song is rich in detail and rather obscure imagery - but you'd need an honours degree in deep south patois and backwoods mythology to get it all. Even Milton, from almost thirty years' distance, recalled during a Blues Unlimited interview: ''We could never get the clarity on his recordings...we could never understand what he was saying. Sam Phillips didn't think it was good enough to release. We were supposed to go back into the studio and re-do the stuff because it was unfinished...but we never got back. We were in there all day long and port of the night". Failing that, you can just sit back and marvel at the solid guitar work of Milton, or Ike Turner's fine piano - however, ifs Jesse Knight simple slap bass which really propels this side along. You might also notice that the disc is a strange paradox: a tale with roots way back in the country, yet sung to a modern sounding blues backing. (NB: the take used here is different to that used on the original Sun LP Blues Box).

24 - Crying In The Courthouse (Take 1) (Houston Boines) 1996 3:00 Previously Unreleased
(Houston Boines) (Copyright Control)
Recorded December 23, 1953 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Houston Boines (vocal and harmonica), Milton Campbell (guitar),
Ike Turner (piano), Jesse Knight (bass), Lonnie Hayes (drums)

There are no worries about diction with this slow blues, of which two takes exist. Whereas the second take starts straight in with the first verse, this starts with an instrumental chorus centred around the dolorous metronome of Ike Turned s piano, with sundry outbursts from Little Milton's guitar and some tentative harmonica phrases off-mike by Boines. Despite lasting just under three minutes, there are only verses of lyrics, both of which are notable for their stark imagery. "Took me Way, took me 'way in the mornin' soon/when I couldn't see nothin' but just the stars and moon''. In the second take, the singer is taken away on the morning train, "l was handcuffed and shackled with great long lengths of chain". A further verse adds a poignancy missing here: "Wasn't it sod when I left my baby crying?/she said, 'Daddy, I can't go with you, but you'll be always on my mind''.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Sun Box 7-7 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

8 Compact disc boxed set. An Charly Records Special Products. Blue label with Charly logo on top. Sun logo left from the center. Contains 202-tracks, which includes 31 previously unreleased sides. Each disc contains comprehensive, track-by-track liner notes. On the back cover, catalog number right on top. Also included in the boxed set, an 60-pages luxury booklet with foreword and introduction notes by Neil Slaven and Roger Dopson. Liner notes in the booklet by Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Colin Escott, Cilla Huggins, and Bez Turner. The booklet also features interviews with Sam Phillips and many of the singers and musicians, plus biographical information on each artist, a detailed Session File, and a host of photographs and memorabilia.

For music (standard singles) on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Disc 7 Contains

1 - Hart's Bread Boogie (Love) (1954) 2:39 Not Originally Issued
(Milton Billy Love) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 3, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Billy Love (vocal and piano), Pat Hare (guitar),
Unknown (bass and drums)

Love pays a talking blues tribute to the title's product(!) In fact, the Hart's Bread Show ran regularly on KWEM in West Memphis, and an alternate version of this song appeared on the Hart's Bread label. The lyric recounts the curative and restorative powers of the product in a manner which would no longer pass codes of Advertising Practice (imagine Love and Sam Phillips trying to argue the truth of lines like "You can't do the boogie if your heart's not in it'' in court) Love's vocal is performed in the same greasy style as Ray Charles' ''It Should Have Been Me'', which was highly popular in 1953 when this song was conceived.

2 - Wolf Call Boogie (Take 1) Hot Shot Love) (1954) 2:34 > Sun 196-A < 
(Coy Love) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 8, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Coy "Hot Shot" Love (vocal and harmonica), Pat Hare (guitar),
Mose Vinson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

This engaging and effective track was recorded in January 1954 with several of Sun's stalwart sessionmen, including guitarist Pat Hare, pianist Mose Vinson, bassist Kenneth Banks, and drummer Houston Stokes. Coy Love (who blows harp a la Sonny Terry) jive talks his way along the bar of a juke joint which sounds like the distant prototype of a singles bar. At the time of this session Love was an itinerant musician based on Gayoso Street in Memphis. Before his death in 1980 he earned his living as a sign painter, both his jacket and his bicycle emblazoned with choice epigrams.

3 - Harmonica Jam (Hot Shot Love) (1954) 2:34 > Sun 196-B <
(Coy Love) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 8, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Coy "Hot Shot" Love (vocal and harmonica), Pat Hare (guitar),
Mose Vinson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

A self-explanatory title for an enjoyable if unspectacular romp through Love's harmonica repertoire. He punctuates it with a brief plea to his woman to stay - "I wouldn't tell you wrong". As the tune proceeds the tempo increases, which may be why Love gets somewhat lost mid-way. Both Hare and Vinson make occasional forays but for the most part content themselves with providing solid back-up.

4 - Wolf Call Boogie (Take 2) Hot Shot Love) (1986) 2:33 Not Originally Issued
(Coy Love) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 8, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Coy "Hot Shot" Love (vocal and harmonica), Pat Hare (guitar),
Mose Vinson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

In between the issued first take and a third released on a previous harmonica compilation, is a second which is pitched somewhere between the virtuosity and the garrulity of its neighbours. After some banter outside the bar - "Mon, you sharp. Goodness knows, you really sharp. Looka there at them shoes''. - Love gets into a mean exchange with the bartender: "No, / don't want no vanilla! What you think I am? I want something strong for my money. I'm spending o great big dime here..." When he finally gets to 'calling' a woman, he switches back from amplified to acoustic harmonica. After some fetching rooster stuff, the woman discovers he's only got a nickel and Love waxes philosophical, viz: "You say I'm cheap, go 'head on. l ain't gonna beg you. Too many other women''.

5 - Harpin' On It (Coy ''Hot Shot'' Love) (1996) 2.27 Previously Unissued
(Coy Love) (Copyright Control)
Recorded January 8, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Coy "Hot Shot" Love (vocal and harmonica), Pat Hare (guitar),
Mose Vinson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

This is another take of what was issued as ''Harmonica Jam'', which is somewhat slower to get into gear and overall is rather more controlled. This is particularly noticeable in Love's syncopated whoop and harmonica episodes. Pat Hare tries to be a little more adventurous, but then decides not to tangle with the erratic effusions from his nominal leader.

6 - Blue Man (Take 1) (Kenneth Banks) (1996) 3:17 Previously Unreleased
(Kenneth Banks) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 8, 1954 at 706 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Kenneth Banks (vocal and bass), Mose Vinson (piano) Jesse Knight (bass),Pat Hare (guitar), Houston Stokes (drums)

On the same day that he played bass on Hot Shot Love's session, Banks also crooned three takes of this Charles Brown-inspired opus. Perhaps he was at the quiet end of the bar in which Love whooped it up. After some trenchant opening piano chords from Vinson, Hare is uncharacteristically restrained in his accompaniment, even during the staccato chorus - "Oh, what's the matter? Why all this chatter?" Both musicians then play a restrained solo chorus. This first take repeats the vocal chorus, whereas both subsequent takes omit it.

7 - High (Kenneth Banks) (Take 1) (1996) 2:20 Previously Unreleased
(Kenneth Banks) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 8, 1954 at 706 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Kenneth Banks (vocal and bass), Mose Vinson (piano) Jesse Knight (bass),Pat Hare (guitar), Houston Stokes (drums)

- and then he went down the rowdy end of the bar and took advantage of the dime ''Hot Shot'' was spending to get roaring drunk. Like Love's ''Harmonica Jam'', this is largely an excuse for the band to cut loose, and Pat Hare takes full advantage of his opportunity. Banks starts to get into the spirit about halfway through this first take, achieving the pitch at which he begins the next, complete with hicks and belches. Sam Phillips must have thought there was something in this, because he brought Banks back into the studio and recorded But ''High'' with Ike Turner's band. But in the final event, neither version was issued at the time.

8 - Way After Midnight (Billy Love) (1986) 2:47 Previously Unissued
(Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 19, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton ''Billy'' Love (vocal and piano), Harvey Simmons (saxophone),
Jewell Briscoe (saxophone), Lucian Coleman (saxophone),
Charles McGowan (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

Despite the sombre nature of the material, there's plenty of energy here. The disc has a highly charged atmosphere, established immediately by the boys whooping it up in the background, Billy's vocal sounds supremely confident, and is matched by his piano work (such a pity that he never lived to see some belated recognition). The (unidentified) alto sax player seems destined for outer space during his solo as he works some jazz changes into Billy's basic 12-bar blues. Sam Phillips registered this title with B.M.I. in May 1954, which would suggest that he'd considered releasing one of the takes as a single.

9 - Hey Now (Billy Love) (Take 1) (1996) 2:42 Previously Unreleased
(Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 19, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton ''Billy'' Love (vocal and piano), Harvey Simmons (saxophone),
Jewell Briscoe (saxophone), Lucian Coleman (saxophone),
Charles McGowan (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

Most Blues musicians around this time had a crack at recording latin music, usually combining it with a fast 4/4 section for a featured soloist. This track is different, for whichever tenor man gets the ride (Harvey Simmons, Lucian Coleman or Jewell Briscoe), he stays in latin rhythm for his two choruses of fame. One thing these guys couldn't do was write a reasonable set of lyrics to fit the unusually busy backing - and Billy Love, for all his confidence, is no exception.

10 - Gee I Wish (Billy Love) (Take 3) (1977) 2:10 Not Originally Issued
(Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 19, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton ''Billy'' Love (vocal and piano), Harvey Simmons (saxophone),
Jewell Briscoe (saxophone), Lucian Coleman (saxophone),
Charles McGowan (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

The big guns were well and truly wheeled out for this session: a full band comprising three saxes (Harvey Simmons, Lucian Coleman & Jewel Briscoe) together with a full rhythm section of Love (piano), Charles McGowan (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass), and Houston Stokes (drums). The session cost Phillips $92.50 to put together, compared with his average session cost of $20.25! The results are impressive, and were tentatively scheduled for release on Sun - perhaps Phillips' cash-flow problems prevented their release. Love's vocal is brisk and confident, and whilst the sax solo betrays rather Jazzy leanings initially, he revises and simplifies his approach quite markedly, more in empathy with the material: it's almost as though someone had leaned over and whispered "too close to Jazz, man." The song sports a catchy hook and would have fitted in well with the uptown Blues hits of 1954 - all of which conspire to make its non-release even more of a mystery'. (NB: the take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Box).

11- The News Is All Around Town (Take 1) Billy Love) (186) Previously Unissued
(Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded January 19, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton ''Billy'' Love (vocal and piano), Harvey Simmons (saxophone),
Jewell Briscoe (saxophone), Lucian Coleman (saxophone),
Charles McGowan (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums)

This is a beautifully poised after-hours blues featuring Billy Love as himself for once, instead of copying someone else's style. He sings confidently and keeps pace with the standout lyric "She shows me no mercy/she feels no pain", whilst contributing some fine, rolling piano. There is a fluid and rather jazzy tenor sax solo, and Phillips has miked the acoustic bass very prominently, achieving an unusually ballsy sound. Just about the only liability here is the drummer (Stokes) who was woefully off-form, and could surely have used a short course in subtlety. (NB: the take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Box).

12 - Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin''' (Little Junior's Blue Flames) (1954) 3:07 Not Originally Issued
(Herman Parker) (Bluesman Music)
Recorded March 2, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Herman Parker (vocal), Pat Hare (guitar), Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone),
Unknown (alto saxophone), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone),
Bill Johnson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums

This song comes from an unknown session, which is believed to have taken place on March 2, 19'54. The guitarist is audibly Pat Hare, who provides incessant fills around Junior's vocal, along with a marvelously Jazzy solo, whilst the latter delivers one of his more relaxed vocals, a la Roy Brown. Just a few weeks after this session Parker broke his contract with Sun and was installed in Duke's Houston studio where he re-cut this song (Duke 127). However, this is clearly a finished take, neither a run-through nor demo. Reportedly, Duke's Don Robey was more comfortable with Junior's Jazz inclinations than Sam Phillips, who was willing to record these efforts, but more likely to release the rockin' sides.

13. - Sittin' At The bar (Little Junior's Blue Flames) (19770 2:31 Not Originally Issued
(Herman Parker) (Bluesman Music)
Recorded March 2, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Herman Parker (vocal), Pat Hare (guitar), Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone),
Unknown (alto saxophone), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone),
Bill Johnson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums

Someone - either Junior Parker himself or Sam Phillips - was obviously obsessed with the rhythmic possibilities of ''Feelin' Good''. So much so that little effort has gone into the lyrics, which have Junior ringing his baby to get her to "come on down". From his lukewarm enthusiasm, he may get some competition from Hot Shot Love and Kenneth Banks if she ever arrives. The identity of the guitarist here is unknown: from the amplification it's tempting to identify Pat Hare again, although there's equally good reason to suggest it might be Floyd Murphy playing through a defective amplifier.

14 - Sittin' At The Window (Little Junior's Blue Flames) (1977) 1:59 Not Originally Issued
(Herman Parker) (Bluesman Music)
Recorded March 2, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Herman Parker (vocal), Pat Hare (guitar), Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone),
Unknown (alto saxophone), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone),
Bill Johnson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes (drums

From the instrumentation, this seems to come from the same session that produced ''Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin''', with Junior's debt to Roy Brown even more apparent. The song is yet another variation on B.B. King's ''Woke Up This Morning'', with its combination of latin and fast 4/4 rhythms. This time one of the tenor players takes a two-chorus solo, which doesn't really get off the ground, hampered perhaps by the drummer's inability to swing.

15 - Feelin' Bad (Little Juniors Blue Flames) (1977) 2:41 Not Originally Issued
(Herman Parker-Sam Phillips) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Herman Parker (vocal), James Wheeler (tenor saxophone), Floyd Murphy (guitar),
William ''Bill'' Johnson (piano), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Houston Stokes or John Bowers (drums)

It didn't take much thought to switch moods for this repetition of ''feelin' Good''. Audibly, this is Floyd Murphy once again, although he takes a less demonstrative role, both in his solo and throughout the performance. The cause of Junior's malaise is his woman - naturally. Seems "some other guy was holdin' her tight" and Junior's solution is to slink off home and call her on the telephone. The idea of making your own answer record was a good one but the end result is rather mechanical. With Junior's defection, Sam Phillips might have considered putting this out to scotch any Duke releases - although perhaps his previous troubles with Chess and RPM dissuaded him from going down that road again.

16 - Alone And Blue (Little Milton) (1954) 3:07 > Sun 200-B <
(James Campbell) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 30, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton Campbell (vocal and guitar), Ike Turner (piano), C.W. Tate (tenor saxophone),
Lawrence Taylor (alto saxophone), Cleophus Robinson (bass),
Probably Jesse Knight Jr. (electric bass),
Lonnie Will Haynes (drums)

Milton had a penchant for spoken introductions around this time (see track 18). He oozes sincerity (of a sort) as he addresses his woman: "Darling, I've o story to tell you/l can't reach you but maybe my story will''. The song itself works up from the template of a B.B. King blues ballad, although Ike's horn players lack the polish of their counterparts. That's illustrated to dubious effect when C.W. Tate takes a tremulous (and poorly pitched) solo chorus. In a bid to cover all the bases, Milton even calls on both God and his mother to bring his baby back - all to no avail.

17- She's My Queen (Little Milton) (1986) 2:29 Not Originally Issued. (2.29)
(James Campbell) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 30, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton Campbell (vocal and guitar), Ike Turner (piano), C.W. Tate (tenor saxophone),
Lawrence Taylor (alto saxophone), Cleophus Robinson (bass),
Probably Jesse Knight Jr. (electric bass),
Lonnie Will Haynes (drums)

A straightforward blues outing which doesn't really distinguish itself until Milton unleashes a stinging guitar solo, after which it really soars. There are shades of Guitar Slim here, but Milton remains essentially his own man. No one would ever want to deny Milton his 1960's and 1970's successes, but it's a shame he had to achieve it in a musical style which wholly submerged both his blues roots and magnificent guitar playing.

18 - Lookin' For My Baby (Little Milton) (1954) 2:53 > Sun 220-B <
(James Campbell) (Hi Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 30, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton Campbell (vocal and guitar), Ike Turner (piano), C.W. Tate (tenor saxophone),
Lawrence Taylor (alto saxophone), Cleophus Robinson (bass),
Probably Jesse Knight Jr. (electric bass),
Lonnie Will Haynes (drums)

This remarkable track succeeds at all levels, from the matter-of-fact spoken introduction and the stinging rigour of Milton's guitar solo to the raucous support from Ike Turner's band. Milton is deceptively relaxed as he informs us, "People, you know what? My baby's left me and she hasn't come back. And I'm gonna get on this old train and see can I find her''. His cutting amplification alone would have roused the outskirts of Memphis. Lonnie Haynes sets up a loping shuffle as the horns bray out a train-whistle riff. Although his records from this period are chameleon-like, Milton here begins to show the originality he would quickly gain.

19 - Homesick For My Baby (Campbell) (1976) Not Originally Issued
(James Campbell) (Hi Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 30, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton Campbell (vocal and guitar), Ike Turner (piano), C.W. Tate (tenor saxophone),
Lawrence Taylor (alto saxophone), Cleophus Robinson (bass),
Probably Jesse Knight Jr. (electric bass),
Lonnie Will Haynes (drums)

A straightforward blues outing, this is an alternate take of the original B-side of Sun 220. Distinguished by yet another superlative guitar solo - once again demonstrating Milton's flair for aggressive phrasing - the saxes (Lawrence Taylor and C.W. Tate) weigh in with some rather soulful notes, whilst Ike Turner really shines in his somewhat limited supporting role on piano. The only sour note in the performance is literally the last - which is probably why it remained in the can.

20 - If You Love Me (Little Milton) (1954) 2:32 > Sun 200-A <
(James Campbell) (Hi Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 30, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton Campbell (vocal and guitar), Ike Turner (piano), C.W. Tate (tenor saxophone),
Lawrence Taylor (alto saxophone), Cleophus Robinson (bass),
Probably Jesse Knight Jr. (electric bass),
Lonnie Will Haynes (drums)

Once again Milton displays his gift for imitation bordering on plagiarism - however, on this occasion it barely matters that he is ploughing someone else's furrow. Having purloined that irresistible intro from Elmore James' ''Dust My Broom'' he turns in a polished vocal performance, ably assisted by Ike Turner's pounding piano and some persuasive percussion. Years later, B.B. King recalled Ike Turner as one of the finest backing pianists he'd ever heard, and these sides by Milton bear evidence of this.

21 - I Love My Baby (Version 1) (Little Milton) (1988) 2:58 Not Originally Issued
(James Campbell) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 30, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Milton Campbell (vocal and guitar), Ike Turner (piano), C.W. Tate (tenor saxophone),
Lawrence Taylor (alto saxophone), Cleophus Robinson (bass),
Probably Jesse Knight Jr. (electric bass),
Lonnie Will ''Cool Breeze'' Haynes (drums)

As the above tracks show, Milton had a problem with song titles. If that isn't enough, there are actually two different songs with this title. This straightforward boogie kicks off with Ike Turner's piano. The lyrics begin by warning aspirants away from his woman, but then go on to prove that his own status with her is somewhat less than solid. After effective guitar and tenor solos, he concludes on a note of hope, "So I guess that's all for now and I'll see you down the rood/but the next time I see you, be sure you have your clothes''.

22 - The Snuggle (Raymond Hill) (1954) 2:59 > Sun 204-B <
(Raymond Hill) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded April 12, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone), Bobby Fields (tenor saxophone),
Billy Emerson (piano), Ike Turner (piano), Jesse Knight (bass),
Robert Prindell (drums)

As deputy leader of the Kings of Rhythm, Raymond Hill returned to the Sun studios on a split session with Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson. This slow, blowsey instrumental has a distinct aroma of New Orleans around it, largely due to Emerson's two-handed piano accompaniment. Unfortunately, the mix places such emphasis on Hill's tenor that very little of the backing band can be heard - thus, the intended interplay between tenor and
piano on the final choruses doesn't happen at all.

23 - Bourbon Street Jump (Raymond Hill) (1954) 2:37 > Sun 204-A < 
(Raymond Hill) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded April 12, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Raymond Hill (tenor saxophone), Bobby Fields (tenor saxophone),
Billy Emerson (piano), Ike Turner (piano), Jesse Knight (bass),
Robert Prindell (drums)

The New Orleans theme is retained, but little of what ensues has anything to do with the Crescent City. This was the era of Joe Houston and Big Jay McNeely, but our Raymond was plainly too laid-back to even come near emulating their antics. He sets off with a series of donkey honks that fail to build to a satisfying conclusion, even when he's joined by Ike's guitar and Bobby field's saxophone. His solo is fluent enough, but rarely strays far from the root chords, whilst drummer Bob Prindell fires off a machine-gun snare roll to give the track the semblance of an excitement it never possessed.

24 - Cotton Crop Blues (James Cotton) (1954) 2:58 > Sun 206-A <
(James Cotton) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded May 14, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
James Cotton (vocal possibly percussion), Pat Hare (guitar),
Mose Vinson (piano), John Bowers (drums)

If ever there was a seminal example of country and city blues merging in Memphis, then this must surely be it. The lyrical content is so deeply rooted in the delta, surprising that it even got as far as Memphis - whilst on the other hand, Pat Hare's devastating guitar playing and sound epitomises the harsh angularity of the city blues. The whole record becomes a metaphor for rural oppression and hopelessness, in much the same way as Mercy Dee Walton's best records (but unfortunately, without any of the humour). Who can forget Cotton's brooding interjections like "So dork and muddy on this farm"? But make no mistake, it's Hare's work which elevates this disc to classic status: his blistering fills and solo, complemented by the barely contained distortion, are truly lightning in a bottle, whilst the pounding piano (Mose Vinson) and drums (John Bowers) provide the ideal accompaniment. This is surely Hare's finest-ever recorded performance - and whilst the solo was patently preconceived (sections of it are reproduced note-for-note in other Hare recordings), the fact that it was conceived at all, much less recorded, is truly Impressive.

25 - Hold Me In Your Arms (James Cotton) (1954) 2:45 > Sun 206-B <
(James Cotton) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded May 14, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
James Cotton (vocal possibly percussion), Pat Hare (guitar),
Mose Vinson (piano), John Bowers (drums)

Every single note of this recording, from Pat Hare's intro to the simulated fade-out, is "borrowed" directly from Junior Parker's ''Love My Baby'' - although Cotton claims that he and guitarist Floyd Murphy first conceived the number and played it on radio KWEM. Mind you, if one hod to plagiarise, then this is as good a place to start as any. In a mid-80's interview Cotton vividly recalled this session, right down to the fact that he had contributed to the rhythm section by playing "drums" on a cardboard box.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Sun Box 7-8 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

8 Compact disc boxed set. An Charly Records Special Products. Blue label with Charly logo on top. Sun logo left from the center. Contains 202-tracks, which includes 31 previously unreleased sides. Each disc contains comprehensive, track-by-track liner notes. On the back cover, catalog number right on top. Also included in the boxed set, an 60-pages luxury booklet with foreword and introduction notes by Neil Slaven and Roger Dopson. Liner notes in the booklet by Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Colin Escott, Cilla Huggins, and Bez Turner. The booklet also features interviews with Sam Phillips and many of the singers and musicians, plus biographical information on each artist, a detailed Session File, and a host of photographs and memorabilia.

For music (standard singles) on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Disc 8 Contains

1 - I'm Gonna Murder My Baby (Pat Hare) (1973) 2:54 Not Originally Issued
(Clayton) (Copyright Control)
Recorded May 14, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Auburn Pat Hare (vocal and guitar), Billy Love (piano),
Unknown (bass), Israel Franklin (drums)

And now to the notorious case of life imitation art: much has been written about the grim irony attached to this song and the tragic circumstances of Pat Hare's subsequent life - for he did in fact murder his baby, albeit not until nearly yen years later. Hare is not a great vocalist, but this recording is distinguished by its guitar solo and the psychopathic nature of the song (which is itself born in part from Dr Clayton's "Cheatin' & Lyin' Blues". Hare's menacing response to his baby's infidelity is captured forever on tape, and could almost have been used in court as evidence. In the light of what later transpired, interjections such as "Gonna kill her tomorrow!" are chilling, indeed. Arguably, the violence in Pat Hare's life lay very close to the surface, although - as is often the way - many of his cohorts from the good ol' days in Memphis remembered him quite differently. In a Living Blues interview, Rosco Gordon described him as "a beautiful personality, such a gentle person", whilst conversely, Muddy Waters fired him for persistent drunkenness and violence. Who knows... but whatever, this remains a chilling, disturbing record.

2 - Bonus Pay (Pat Hare) (2:07) (1990) Not Originally Issued
(Eddie Vinson) (Cherio Music)
Recorded May 14, 1954 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Auburn Pat Hare (vocal and guitar), Billy Love (piano),
Unknown (bass), Israel Franklin (drums)

Although not titled as such on its initial release (it originally appeared as "Ain't Gonna Be That Way" on Charly Records Sun LP 1061, this is Hare's version of Eddie ''Cleanhead'' Vinson's 1946 Mercury single. In comparison with much of his earlier work the guitar solo is quite restrained, although it certainly features Hare's fondness for over-amplification to the point of distortion. Perhaps the major problem here is that Hare was constrained by having to sing and play guitar fills at the same time - i.e. without the benefit of latter-day overdubbing techniques.

3 - When It Rains It Pours (Billy "The Kid" Emerson) (1955) 3:03 > Sun 214-B <
(William R. Emerson) (Knox Music Incorporated)
Recorded October 27, 1954 or (Or September 18, 1954)
William Billy Emerson (vocal and piano), Bennie Moore (tenor saxophone),
Luther Taylor (alto saxophone), Charles Smith (trumpet),
Elven Parr (guitar), Robert Prindell (drums)

The hit that got away. Marion Keisker remembers that Elvis Presley continually coming into the Sun studio asking whether he could do cover versions of the current hits. Sam Phillips usually had two reasons for refusing - either he didn't own the publishing rights, or there were already enough versions on the market competing for airplay. This Phillips fed Presley Hi-Lo copyrights whenever possible, most notably Emerson's "When It Rains", which Billy cut three months after Presley's first Sun session. Elvis Presley duly recorded the number for Sun Records, although it remained unreleased until its inclusion on an early 1980s Legendary Masters compilation. More surprisingly, perhaps, Elvis Presley re-cut the song for RCA Victor in 1957.

4 - Move Baby Move (Billy "The Kid" Emerson) (1955) 2:39 > Sun 214-A <
(William R. Emerson) (Knox Music Incorporated)
Recorded October 27, 1954 or (Or September 18, 1954)
William Billy Emerson (vocal and piano), Bennie Moore (tenor saxophone),
Luther Taylor (alto saxophone), Charles Smith (trumpet),
Elven Parr (guitar), Robert Prindell (drums)

Emerson himself admitted that this song owed more than a passing nod to the influence of Big Joe Turner. In fact, the melody is a note-for-note reconstruction of Joe Turner's massive contemporaneous hit - although that song most certainly did not originate with Turner. However, "Move Baby" is a wonderful and driving performance, no the worse for its derivative origins. Once again Billy sets Bennie Moore up for a memorable sax solo - mind you, it's a good thing the rhythm was propped up by some percussive handclapping, as this track is not of Phillips' better efforts in the art of crisply-recorded drums.

5 - Shim Sham Shimmy (Billy "The Kid" Emerson) Not Originally Issued
(William R. Emerson) (Knox Music Incorporated)
Recorded October 27, 1954 or (Or September 18, 1954)
William Billy Emerson (vocal and piano), Bennie Moore (tenor saxophone),
Luther Taylor (alto saxophone), Charles Smith (trumpet),
Elven Parr (guitar), Robert Prindell (drums)

It remains a real mystery as to why this side was never released: it's among the most instantly catchy of Emerson's songs, made all the more memorable by the band chanting the refrain. Admittedly the pure blues content here is low, but this was a solid commercial effort - and was resurrected by Emerson as "Do The Chicken" some three years later at a Vee-Jay session. (The take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Box).

6 - Gonna Leave You Baby (Sammy Lewis & Willie Johnson Combo) (1986) 2:18 Not Originally Issued
(Sammy Lewis-Willie Johnson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded March 28, 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Sammy Lewis (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
L.C. Hubert (piano), Joe Nathan Franklin (drums),
Unknown Possibly L.C. Hubert (piano)

There are some absolutely magnificent moments on ''Gonna Leave You Baby'' - and also, a couple of real bummers. The decidedly rural sound of Lewis' harp introduction is both poignant and haunting, setting us up for something of a minor classic - but unfortunately it is so out of tune with Johnson's guitar, that the performance loses much of its potential impact. One noteworthy feature which survives even this discordant pall is Lewis' extremely melodic vocal reading of the first verse. It is a gem which shows just how musical the blues can be, despite the chordal restrictions of the form.

7 - Feel So Worried (Sammy Lewis & Willie Johnson Combo) (1986) 2:33 Not Originally Issued
(Sammy Lewis-Willie Johnson) (Copyright Control)
Recorded March 28, 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Sammy Lewis (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
L.C. Hubert (piano), Joe Nathan Franklin (drums),
Unknown Possibly L.C. Hubert (piano)

This alternate take of SUN 218 made its first appearance on the original Sun box, and was erroneously passed off as a "slower warm-up version". However, it differs only slightly from its rather better-known counterpart - mainly lyrically, being a lot closer to the number which inspired it, viz: "Feelin' Good". Which merely suggests that Sammy Lewis was having trouble in remembering the words!

8 - So Long Baby Goodbye (Sammy Lewis & Willie Johnson Combo) (1986) 2:08 Not Originally Issued
(Willie Johnson) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 28, 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Sammy Lewis (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
.C. Hubert (piano), Joe Nathan Franklin (drums),
Unknown Possibly L.C. Hubert (piano)

An alternate take of the track which gave us the immortal dictum "Well all right Sammy, blow the backs off it!". This take is not markedly different from the released version, but it does offer another opportunity to listen to guitarist Willie Johnson as a vocalist. Here Johnson propels his defiant, hell-raising blues with biting guitar work and carries it all through with a hard-edged wolf-like vocal.

9 - Feel So Worried (Sammy Lewis & Willie Johnson Combo) (1955) 2:24 > Sun 218-A <
(Willie Johnson) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded March 28, 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Sammy Lewis (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
L.C. Hubert (piano), Joe Nathan Franklin (drums),
Unknown Possibly L.C. Hubert (piano)

Sam Phillips tried yet again in recapture the success he had found with Little Junior Parker's ''Feelin' Good''. His most obvious attempt was with Little Junior himself, but Phillips never deemed ''Feelin' Bad'', worthy of release. Although ''Feelin' Bad'' was by no means a weak record, this track is truly the ultimate sequel. In fact, in many ways, it eclipses the original. ''I Feel So Worried'' differs in some ways from Parker's original; the tempo is a touch slower and ''Worried'' is performed in a minor key, or at least comes close to being in a minor key. More on that below. The song also retains the vocal effect (the cry for a flatted-7 note to 8: for example, from B-flat to C) that made ''Feelin' Good'' so memorable, and it captivates the listener once again. Like many of Sun's best blues recordings, this track announces itself and demands attention within the first two bars. Sammy Lewis talk/sing style engaging throughout, and the brief and sudden appearance of a second harmonica at the end of the guitar solo is quite a strong tough. Not knowing whether this record is in a minor key adds much to its appeal. Without getting too technical, the song is laced with blues notes (flatted-thirds). It's hard to know whether the song is actually written in a major key and features more than its share of blue notes, or whether those flatted thirds are actually part of a minor scale. There's no real way to be sure and whether you're a musician or not, that confusion creates a lot of appealing tension. A fairly well-known example is Dale Hawkins ''Susie Q''. The verdict is no clearer there than it is here. Lewis' vocal, like Parker's before it, is strikingly Southern. In this case, its back country ways may have restricted the disc's urban potential, although it is surprisingly that ''Worried'' didn't grab more attention even in rural venues. Nevertheless, the track is a gem deservedly regarded as one of Sun's best blues records.

10 - Red Hot (Billy "The Kid" Emerson) (1955) 2:23 > Sun 219-A <
(William Billy Emerson) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded May 31, 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
William Billy Emerson (vocal and piano), Jewell Briscoe (tenor saxophone),
Moses Reed (tenor saxophone), Calvin Newborn (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Phineas Newborn Sr. (drums), Band (chorus)

Emerson originally derived this song from a cheerleaders' chant: "Our team is red hot". Recorded in May 1955 - backed by a session band assembled by drummer Phineas Newborn Sr. - the Rock and Roll revolution was by now well under way. Some eighteen months later, rockabilly wildman Billy Lee Riley recorded a lyrically stripped down, cleaned-up version, retaining the classic retort "your girls ain't doodley squat" and creating a bona-fide rockabilly classic in the process. Bob Luman recorded a strong version shortly afterwards, but it languished forgotten until Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs took it into the Billboard Top 100 in 1966. Ten years later Rockabilly/Quiffabilly revivalist Robert Gordon turned in a sizzling recut (which also made the Top 100), whilst in the ensuing years Billy Riley has gone on to make it his life's work. It is certainly not identical to Billy Riley's landmark rockabilly version from two years hence, but neither is it that those school girls were taunting the opposing team with. Once again, Emerson has crafted a song out of a throwaway bit of pop culture. The song is essentially an extension of "the dozens"24, a friendly trading of insults perhaps made most famous in the "Say Man" recordings by Bo Diddley. If you're keeping score, the end of "Red Hot" represents yet another blown fade by engineer Sam Phillips.

11 - Satisfied (Billy "The Kid" Emerson) (1992) 2:12 Not Originally Issued
(William Billy Emerson) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded May 31, 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
William Billy Emerson (vocal and piano), Jewell Briscoe (tenor saxophone),
Moses Reed (tenor saxophone), Calvin Newborn (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass),
Phineas Newborn Sr. (drums), Band (chorus)

There's no reason to put this recent addition to Emerson's discography at this point, apart from its stylistic similarity to "Red Hot". Since most of his later sessions used much the same instrumentation, the task of identifying individual musicians on such scanty evidence is made even harder. Guitar and sax confine themselves to repeating the melody line in between verses, the only marked difference coming when the guitarist plays an octave higher. The lyrics are largely unremarkable, chosen one suspects as much for their syncopated rhythms as for their content. "When I'm broke, she always gives me money/when I'm sad, she makes me glad/then comes thirst, she always gives me water/now she's gone, you know I feel so sad".

12 - Bring Your Love Back Home (Eddie Snow) (1955) 3:14 > Sun 226-B < 
(Eddie Snow) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded July 19, 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Eddie Snow (vocal and piano), Floyd Murphy (guitar), Eddie Davis (tenor saxophone),
Bennie Moore (alto saxophone), Jeff Greyer (drums)

Eddie Snow first appeared on the doorstep at 706 Union as the pianist with Elven Parr's In The Groove Boys in 1952, after they'd journeyed from Osceola, Arkansas to cut a demo for Chess Records. Snow reappeared in 1955 with Benny Moore, another Parr alumnus, to cut a single for Sun records. The results are this rolling blues with a catchy tune that might have done quite well but for Sam Phillips' lack of promotional capital - and the fact that by this stage Sun was already ostentatiously touting itself in the trades as "America's number 1 Country Label".

The flipside ''Bring Your Love Back Home'' shows Snow in a less articulate, but highly pleasing mode. The harmony riffing saxes behind him are very effective. The alto sax solo is probably by Benny Moore, who'd obviously spent long nights listening to Charlie Parker's 78rpm's. The other player might be Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, who later joined Count Basie, but who'd begun his career honking in rhythm and blues bands.

13 - Ain't That Right (Eddie Snow) (1955) 2:33 > Sun 226-A < 
(Eddie Snow) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded July 19, 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Eddie Snow (vocal and piano), Floyd Murphy (guitar), Eddie Davis (tenor saxophone),
Bennie Moore (alto saxophone), Jeff Greyer (drums)

The A-side of Snow's single was a misogynistic masterpiece that today's police would have pounced on, howling. Nothing that a "no good woman" 24 can affect a good man's health, he goes on "I tried to get it through/you men (are) hard- headed/dog that bite your hand/don't give her no credit". Two more rueful verses follow before a brief alto sax solo and Snow's last acerbic observations: "When you talk about good women, I ain't got no faith/the women nowadays tryin' to take man's place/if a woman comes to your house and her face looks like a man/bet your last dollar your old lady gonna start to raise some sands". Perhaps it was more than bad distribution that prevented this record from succeeding. When Billboard got around to reviewing it in October 1955, it said, ''Snow walls some sally philosophy in this potent talking and refrain effort. Should do well in many sectors. Good down-to-earth stuff''. Indeed.

14 - Don't Dog Me Around (Eddie Snow) (1983) 2:45 Not Originally Issued
(Eddie Snow) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Late 1954 Early 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Eddie Snow (vocal and piano), Probably Eddie Davis (saxophone),
Bennie Moore (saxophone), Floyd Murphy (guitar), Jeff Greyer (drums)

A muddy sound and a key which puts more than the usual strain on Eddie Snow's vocal chords renders some of what he sings unintelligible. Its pretty clear he loves his baby, but she seems to be spending his money. "Well, I love you baby, don't fool around with my dough/if you fool with my money, baby, you know you can't live no more". A guitar solo follows which makes a solid virtue of brevity compared to the thundering herd behind him, or can we hear the posse as well?

15 - Mean Mean Woman (Eddie Snow) (1996) 3:00) Previously Unissued
(Eddie Snow) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Late 1954 Early 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Eddie Snow (vocal and piano), Probably Eddie Davis (saxophone),
Bennie Moore (saxophone), Floyd Murphy (guitar), Jeff Greyer (drums)

Although not assigned to a specific session, its fairly safe to identify the proto-rockabilly guitar style of Floyd Murphy on ''Mean Mean Woman'', although he seems to have lost the fighting edge to be heard on Junior Parker's sides. The other possibility is that this is another guitarist attempting the Murphy style. The song's sentiments are roughly equivalent to the preceding track, and Snow makes it clear that if he can't be his woman's boss, he won't be her man at all. On those terms, he's likely to have remained a bachelor for the rest of his natural life. Before Floyd Murphy was sidelined by a stroke, he remembered working a session with Eddie Snow, so it could very well be him. Snow was an unsubtle vocalist without much range, and on the evidence here his act probably worked better in clubs than on records, a judgment underscored by the fact that he didn't record again until late in life.

16 - Stay With Me Baby (Eddie Snow) (1985) 2:36 Not Originally Issued
(Eddie Snow) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Late 1954 Early 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Eddie Snow (vocal and piano), Probably Eddie Davis (saxophone),
Bennie Moore (saxophone), Floyd Murphy (guitar), Jeff Greyer (drums)

Snow doesn't seem to be able to make up his mind whether to sing "Stay" or "Stick with me baby" he sings both during the course of this take and on the one that succeeded it. With the exception of a verse about the adverse consequences of playing the numbers, the singer spends his time ruing his previous actions in a manner that seems to guarantee his baby's departure. As the performance falls apart at its end, the drummer goes into whirlwind mode to prove it wasn't his fault. The sax man, probably Eddie Davis, here sounds so fluent and brimful of ideas that he could very well be jazz titan Eddie ''Lockjaw'' Davis. In 1956, Davis made some solo recordings for King Records. In New York leading a prototypical sax-organ combo, and he worked on and off with Count Basie from 1952 until 1955, so it's at least possible that it's him. It's clear that Eddie Snow had solidly commercial songwriting chops, but simply didn't have the distinctiveness as a singer needed to compete in rhythm and blues circa 1955.

17 - Something For Nothing (Billy "The" Kid Emerson) (1956) 2:42 > Sun 233-B <
(William Robert Emerson) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded November 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
William Billy Emerson (vocal), Billy Love (piano), Jewell Briscoe (tenor saxophone),
Moses Reed (tenor saxophone), Calvin Newborn (guitar),
Kenneth Banks (bass), Phineas Newborn Sr. (drums)

Emerson rates his work on this side extremely highly indeed - and with very good cause, as the record is a tight, jumping blues with more than a nod towards the urgency of nascent rock and roll. Emerson brought Phineas Newborn Sr's band in for this session, which meant that they had to work up the arrangement from scratch. Despite this there is a gloriously infections spontaneity to the performance.

18 - Little Fine Healthy Thing (Billy "The" Kid Emerson) (1956) 2:29 > Sun 233-A < 
(William Robert Emerson) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
Recorded November 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
William Billy Emerson (vocal), Billy Love (piano), Jewell Briscoe (tenor saxophone),
Moses Reed (tenor saxophone), Calvin Newborn (guitar),
Kenneth Banks (bass), Phineas Newborn Sr. (drums)

This is a catchy, melodic composition with more spice and variety than most rhythm and blues titles from the period. It also shows up Emerson's limitations as a vocalist, he was competent, even distinctive, but lacked the aggressiveness of many of his contemporaries. Emerson seemed to have a penchant for woman who could make ''a bulldog hug a hound...'' a familiar line after Johnny Temple popularized it on ''Big Leg Woman''. Emerson, though, prided himself on being a songwriter, not just another reshuffle of blues cliches. What he says here is both loving and lecherous; a combination. She should have been flattered, who ever she was. Billy the Kid Emerson's last Sun single was sandwitched between Johnny Cash's ''Folsom Prison Blues'' and Carl Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes''. Even before those two records became hits, Emerson saw the writing on the wall, and was gone from Sun Records.

19 - That's What You Do To Me (Rosco Gordon) (1986) 2:48 Not Originally Issued
(Rosco Gordon) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Probably February 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano), Billy Duncan (alto saxophone),
Charles Taylor (alto saxophone), Richard Sanders (baritone saxophone),
Willie Wilkes (tenor saxophone), Foree Wells (guitar),
Tuff Green (bass), John Murry Daley (drums)

The result of this later session by Rosco Gordon give clear evidence of the advent of rock and roll. Rosco's style had evolved since his first session for Sam Phillips four years earlier. At the least, the lyrical content of these songs, while not timeless poetry, was still beyond the primitive rantings of ''Rosco's Boogie''. This used the irony of opposites to make its point... a lyrical device he'd first used earlier on ''Saddled The Cow (And Milked The Horse)''. Rosco's well known sense of humor resurfaces in lines like ''I wear oil on my face, powder on my hair / I'm a strange acting man, but I just don't care''. His second reading of ''That's What You Do To Me'' of the title line in each couplet is especially melodic. The song rolls along nicely with the loping shuffle Rosco made his own. The recording features a surprisingly active guitar player. When Rosco moved on to Vee-Jay Records three years later, the song was still buzzing around in his head. He recorded it for that label in 1959, with a considerably different arrangement, and that's when it finally saw commercial release.

20 -I'm Gonna Shake It (Rosco Gordon) (1986) 1:57 Not Originally Issued
(Rosco Gordon) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Probably February 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano), Billy Duncan (alto saxophone),
Charles Taylor (alto saxophone), Richard Sanders (baritone saxophone),
Willie Wilkes (tenor saxophone), Foree Wells (guitar),
Tuff Green (bass), John Murry Daley (drums)

It's pretty clear that Little Richard had appeared on the scene by the time Rosco recorded ''I'm Gonna Shake It''. This is a rollicking performance, if not one of Rosco's lyrical masterpiece. It's rhythm and blues on the cusp of rock and roll, mirroring the changing musical times. Richard Sanders provides a solid anchor with his guttural baritone sax, but the real instrumental highlight comes from drummer John Murry Daley, who offers some standout counter-rhythms in the 2-bar break between verses. Conversely, this rollicking performance is hardly one of Rosco's lyrical masterpieces, epitomising the standard good-time rhythm and blues fare which was in the process of evolving into full-blooded rock and roll

21 - Let's Get High) (Rosco Gordon) (1986) 2:33 Not Originally Issued
(Rosco Gordon) (Copyright Control)
Recorded Probably February 1955 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano), Billy Duncan (alto saxophone),
Charles Taylor (alto saxophone), Richard Sanders (baritone saxophone),
Willie Wilkes (tenor saxophone), Foree Wells (guitar),
Tuff Green (bass), John Murry Daley (drums)

Following his patented "No More Doggin'" introduction, Rosco and the boys launch into a confident arrangement which features prominent drumming John Daley, and a riffing baritone sax played by Richard Sanders. A strong song and performance throughout, only an inappropriate major seventh ending reveals the likely spontaneous nature of the arrangement. Interestingly, when Rosco went back into the studio in 1984 to record a moving tribute to his late wife, he cut a new version of "Let's Get High" for the flip.

22 - New Orleans La. (Rosco Gordon) (1986) 2:08 Not Originally Issued
(Rosco Gordon) (Copyright Control)
Recorded October 25, 1956 at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Rosco Gordon (vocal and piano), Phillip Walker (guitar), L.W. Canty (bass),
Joe W. Payne (drums), James Jones (tenor saxophone),
Lionel Prevost (tenor saxophone)

Another example of Rosco's Vee-Jay output having its origins in his Sun recordings, this early version of "New Orleans" boasts a full production and could quite easily have been released as a single. The opening couplet is derived from Stick McGhee's earlier opus about the Crescent City's lifestyle - viz: "Drinkin' Spo - Dee-O-Dee" - whilst the general background anarchy puts one in mind of Gary U.S. Bond's early 1960s hits. Whatever, Sam Phillips never saw fit to release this infectious track, which remained in the can until its inclusion in the original Sun Box

23 - Get It Over Babe (Ike Turner) (1976) 2:05 (Not Originally Issued
(Ike Turner) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Unknown Date and Place 1958. East St. Louis, Illinois
Tommy Hodge (vocal), Ike Turner (guitar), Carlson Oliver (tenor saxophone),
Fred Sample (piano), Jesse Knight (bass guitar), Unknown (drums)

Unknown date 1958, Sam Phillips takes six songs recorded in St. Louis by Ike Turner, with vocalist Tommy Hodge, but they are not released. Note: Three of these songs were previously issued with incorrect titles. By 1958 Sam Phillips had almost given up on recording black music. Billy Emerson and Rosco Gordon apart, there hadn't been any releases by black artists during 1957, and only "Sally Jo" by Rosco Gordon would appear during this year.

Nevertheless, Sam Phillips bought six titles from Ike Turner, perhaps at Ike's insistence - or perhaps as a token of the business that they'd done, to the profit of both, in the frantic years at the beginning of the decade. Ike was now a major force in the St. Louis black music industry, which was active but intensely parochial, and he was having trouble getting product onto a major label. This batch of songs sound like demos and perhaps their sale paid of Ike's studio bills: for very shortly after wards, Ike went to Chicago and recorded a bunch of sessions for Eli Toscano's Cobra and Artists labels, including this song, which he retitled ("I Known") "You Don't Love Me" from its opening line. Tommy Hodge's congested vocal is very low in the mix, although his performance is strong enough. Carlson Oliver takes two choruses of a fairly basic tenor sax solo, and the song is soon over.

24 - How Long Will It Last (Ike Turner) (1976) 2:42 Not Originally Issued
(Ike Turner) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Unknown Date and Place 1958. East St. Louis, Illinois
Tommy Hodge (vocal), Ike Turner (guitar), Carlson Oliver (tenor saxophone),
Fred Sample (piano), Jesse Knight (bass guitar), Unknown (drums)

Ike had begun to experiment with the vibrato arm, later dubbed not entirely with affection a "twang bar", on his Fender guitar during the Federal sessions he'd cut the previous year. These agitated wailing notes would achieve their greatest significance on Otis Rush's Cobra singles, "Double Trouble" and "All Your Love". Here, they pump up the anxiety gauge admirably as Tommy Hodge frets his way through a typically angst-ridden piece, teenage or otherwise. This song was re-recorded for Artists Records as "Down And Out". But on this side, the stylistic influence of B.B. King is obvious, but the emotional variation that Turner gets out of the instrument is special.

25 - I'm Gonna Forget About You (Matchbox) (Ike Turner) (1976) 2:27 Not Originally Issued
(Ike Turner) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Unknown Date and Place 1958. East St. Louis, Illinois
Tommy Hodge (vocal), Ike Turner (guitar), Carlson Oliver (tenor saxophone),
Fred Sample (piano), Jesse Knight (bass guitar), Unknown (drums)

Once again Ike shows the whammy bar no mercy. He tried to find a good home for ''I'm Gonna Forget About You (Matchbox)'', this song, recording it for Eli Toscano's Cobra/Artistic labels in Chicago in 1958 with Tommy Hodge singing. He recorded another version for Cobra with Jackie Brenston and yet another with Otis Rush, but none of them was released at the time. Only on the tape mailed to Sun was it titled ''I'm Gonna Forget About You'', on all other versions, it bore the more succinct title ''Matchbox''.

And in those pre-Beatle days, ''Matchbox'' was a title known only to the handful of fans who'd bought Carl Perkins' Sun single, and an even smaller number of pre-War blues and hillbilly fans. It would answer a few questions if we could have been the letter that accompanied this tape. Tuner seemed to be between contracts, not that being under contract ever impeded him from recording for another company. Phillips, though, had his attention diverted by Johnny Cash's defection to Columbia and Jerry Lee Lewis's career implosion. Ike Turner's tape, if not the blues as a whole, must have seemed like a missive from a forgotten planet.

26 - You Ain't The One For Me (Ike Turner) (1976) 2:32 Not Originally Issued
(Ike Turner) (Delta Music Incorporated)
Recorded Unknown Date and Place 1958. East St. Louis, Illinois
Tommy Hodge (vocal), Ike Turner (guitar), Carlson Oliver (tenor saxophone),
Fred Sample (piano), Jesse Knight (bass guitar), Unknown (drums)

As we've seen from his own and Little Milton's sessions, Ike Turner had a strong affection for New Orleans rhythm. On ''You Ain't The One'', the song also suits Tommy Hodge's unique vocal chords, as well as Carlson Oliver's tenor sax, which here he wields in the manner of King Curtis to some extent. It shows that Ike was still thinking about the hit parade. It would be a little while before he distilled the right ingredients, but he wasn't far off the mark here. Sam Phillips kept the tapes but, as far from the blues as some may think these titles are, he was no longer interested in the market to which they spoke. 

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

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