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1961 SESSIONS (10-12)
October 1, 1961 to December 31, 1961 

Studio Session for Ray Smith, October 24, 1961 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jeb Stuart, Late 1961 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Rayburn Anthony, Fall 1961 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Tony Austin, Unknown Date(s) 1961 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Mack Self, Fall 1961 / Zone Records

Studio Session for The Prisonaires, Various Dates Probably 1961 / Excello Records
- The Siskin Tapes -
- Don't Say Tomorrow -
- World Of Make Belief -

Studio Session for Charlie Feathers, 1961/1962 / Holiday Inn Records

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Playlists of the Artists can be found on 706 Union Avenue Sessions of > YouTube <
  

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

OCTOBER 1961
 
PI 3574 ''Don't Make Me Cry'' b/w ''Someday She'll Come Along'' by Freddie North issued.
 
OCTOBER 1, 1961 SUNDAY
 
RCA Victor released the soundtrack to the Elvis Presley movie ''Blue Hawaii''( RCA Victor LPM-2426).
 
OCTOBER 2, 1961 MONDAY
 
Joy Lynn White is born in Turrell, Arkansas. A highly regarded vocalist with a powerful voice, she never quite attains mainstream success during her tenure with Columbia Records in the 1990s, though she contributes to the ''Maverick'' soundtrack.
 
OCTOBER 3, 1961 TUESDAY
 
CBS debuts ''The Dick Van Dyke Show''. The cast includes Morey Amsterdam, who wrote Dick Jurgens' 1947 country hit ''(Oh Why, Did I Ever Leave) Wyoming'', and Mary Tyler Moore, who founds the 1980s country label MTM Records.
 
OCTOBER 4, 1961 WEDNESDAY
 
Bob Dylan, destined to write a number of country hits, appears at New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall for the first time. His audience numbers just 50 people.
 
Syndicated journalist Dorothy Kilgallen reports Hank Snow has sued Colonel Tom Parker, insisting he was the person who discovered Elvis Presley. Both sides hope to settle the dispute out of court.
 
OCTOBER 6, 1961 FRIDAY
 
Columbia Records released Johnny Cash's ''Tennessee Flat-Top Box'', and Claude King's ''The Comancheros''.
 
OCTOBER 7, 1961 SATURDAY
 
Songwriter Tommy Barnes is born. He creates Tim McGraw's first hit, ''Indian Outlaw''.
 
Wanda Jackson marries Wendell Goodman.
 
OCTOBER 8, 1961 SUNDAY
 
Glen and Billie Jean Campbell have a daughter, Keli Glen Campbell.
 
OCTOBER 9, 1961 MONDAY
 
The singles, Sun 368 ''Since I Met You'' b/w ''U Huh Unh'' by Don Hosea and Sun 369 ''Human Emotions'' b/w ''Everybody's Searchin'' by Bobby Wood issued.
 
Decca released Kitty Well's ''Day Into Night''.
 
OCTOBER 10, 1961 TUESDAY
 
Tennessee Ernie Ford picks up his second gold album, for ''Spirituals''. It includes a version of ''(There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)''.
 
OCTOBER 11, 1961 WEDNESDAY
 
As a member of the club band The Apollos, Lee Greenwood is invited for the first time to participate in a    United Service Organizations  trip, performing for serviceman in Alaska.
 
OCTOBER 15, 1961 SUNDAY
 
Elvis Presley recorded ''Good Luck Charm'' at the RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
OCTOBER 16, 1961 MONDAY
 
Decca released Patsy Cline's ''Crazy''.
 
Guitarist Wanda Vick is born in Montevallo, Alabama. She joins the all-female band Wild Rose, which nets a minor hit in 1989 with ''Breaking New Ground''.
 
OCTOBER 17, 1961 TUESDAY
 
''Elvis' Golden Records'' is the fifth album by Elvis Presley issued by RCA Victor, LPM 1707, and his second gold album, in March recorded mostly at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, with one session at RCA Studios in New York on January 30, one at 20th Century-Fox Stage One in Hollywood on August 24, and three at RCA Studios in Nashville in January and April 1956. It is a compilation of hit singles released in 1956 and 1957, and is widely believed to be the first greatest hits album in rock and roll history. It is the first of five ''Elvis' Golden/Gold Records'' compilations, four of which would be released during Presley's lifetime. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. It was certified Gold on October 17, 1961, Platinum on May 20, 1988, 5x Platinum on March 27, 1992 and 6x Platinum on August 17, 1999 by the Recording Industry Association of America.
 
OCTOBER 20, 1961 FRIDAY
 
Bob Dylan recorded his self-titled debut album. It begins a lengthy career in which he writes such country hits as Johnny Cash's ''It Ain't Me, Babe'', Garth Brooks' ''To Make You Feel My Love'' and Judy Rodman's ''I'll Be Your Baby Tonight''.
 
OCTOBER 21, 1961 SATURDAY
 
Jimmy Dean recorded ''To A Sleeping Beauty'', written by comedian Jackie Gleason.
 
OCTOBER 21, 1961 SATURDAY
 
Sun SLP 1255 ''Now Here's...'' by Johnny Cash issued.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Ray Smith found a potentially big deal in March 1961 with Infinity Records, based in California and part of the Howard Hughes empire. Bill Justis produced two Nashville sessions for the label but the promises of a big promotional push for Ray never came to fruition and soon Charlie Terrell was again looking for a new deal.
 
He found one in the summer of 1961, Ray Smith was back at Sun Records for a second time. Probably he was not displeased to have a crack at being on Sun in its new Nashville phase. When asked once what he remembered most about being on Sun, he replied, simply, ''Happiness, parties, etc''. On October 24, 1961 at ten in the evening he went into Sam Phillips' Nashville studio and worked all night, recording four songs that appeared on his last two Sun singles. Charlie Terrell remembered it well: ''When Ray went back to Sun records after Judd, we used the new studio in Nashville. Sam owned and built the studio, and Sam was there at the session, though we still had Bill Justis producing and engineering. He had Bill Sherrill as his electrician and helper. It was a good session with a lot of fine musicians. Pig Robbins was the pianist, and Bob Moore was the bass player''.
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR RAY SMITH
FOR SUN RECORDS 1961
 
SAM PHILLIPS RECORDING STUDIO
319 SEVENTH AVENUE NORTH, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY OCTOBER 24, 1961
SESSION HOURS: 22:00-01:00
PRODUCER – BILL JUSTIS  AND/OR BILLY SHERRILL
RECORDING ENGINEER - JIM LOCKHART AND/OR TOM SPARKMAN
 
Composer: - Nelson-Crutchfield
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Champion Music – Tree Music
Matrix number: - U 463 - Master (3:03)
Recorded: - October 24, 1961
Released: - November 21, 1961
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single Sun 372-A mono
TRAVLIN' SALESMAN – I WON'T MISS YOU
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-4/11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4
 
If anyone could cope with changing times in the record business, it was Ray Smith. The man was a veritable chameleon. As his personal appearances of the day confirmed, he could offer convincing efforts in styles ranging from Elvis Presley and Fran Sinatra. What was a little bluesy funk to a man like that?  The Ray Smith who recorded the next single and one more released in early 1962, was quite different from the rockabilly pretender Sun fans had come to adore during his 1958 stint with the label.
 
This gravelly voiced midtempo blues shouter was a perfect fit for the late 1961 marketplace. There's a mandatory funky tempo and backup white chicks singing like they're in black church.
 
The material here is anything but ordinary. Smith has taken all the old 'traveling salesman' jokes and turned them inside out. He's the 'husband' of the traveling salesman's girl, and he's sick of all the crap she's buying from her salesman boyfriend. You had to have a taste for the bizarre to connect with, much less understand this storyline!
 
Smith uses his emotive voice well, phrasing adventurously against the foursquare rhythm. He even tries some rather grating bass growls during the instrumental solo and again at the fade. One way or another this song was likely to garner some radio play, although it stopped very short of chart status.
''I Won't Miss You'' is a soul ballad from the practiced pen of Stan Kesler, who had placed similar material (''Playing For Keeps'', ''The Thrill Of Your Love'') with Elvis for the past five years.
 
Composer: - Stan Kesler
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Katrina Music
Matrix number: - U 464 - Master (2:07)
Recorded: - October 24, 1961
Released: - November 21, 1961
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single Sun 372-B mono
I WON'T MISS YOU / TRAVLIN' SALESMAN
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-4-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4
 
Composer: - Marijohn Wilkin-Fred Burch
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Cedar Wood
Matrix number: - U 469 - Master (2:26)
Recorded: - October 24, 1961
Released: - February 9, 1962
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single Sun 375-A mono
I WON'T MISS YOU / TRAVLIN' SALESMAN
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-4/17 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4
 
''Candy Doll'', this was Ray Smith's second and final Sun release from his post-rockabilly period. As on ''Travlin' Salesman'', Smith is in his white soul bag here with both sides of this outing. ''Hey Boss Mann'' is the standard working man's complaint. For all intents and purposes, this is a Charlie Rich record. The material, instrumental sound and even vocal are not far from the material Rich would be recorded for RCA within a year or two.
Original pressings of this disc revealed how powerful the Twist had become in dictating the music marketplace. The label was printed as ''Hey Boss Man (Twist)''. How bizarre had things become when an essentially black song about an unfair bossman was written, performed and marketed by white men, and sold as the basis of a dance craze!. Chubby Checker had a lot to answer for.
 
''Candy Doll'' is a tougher record to figure out. Smith was drawing material from Nashville's top publishers and composers – these were hardly homegrown efforts in Memphis. Yet, it's hard to see the hook in this purposefully crafted pop record. Was it the repeated phrasing of the title? Or the growling horn solo? The wailing chorus? It didn't sell and, sadly, marked the end of Smith's recording career for the Sun label.
 
Composer: - Benny Joy
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Champion Music
Matrix number: - U 470 - Master (2:00)
Recorded: - October 24, 1961
Released: - February 9, 1962
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single Sun 375-B mono
HEY BOSS MAN / CANDY DOLL
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-4/18 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ray Smith – Vocal
Hargus ''Pig'' Robbins – Piano
Stanley Walker – Guitar
Bob Moore – Bass
Unknown – Guitar
Unknown – Drums
Unknown – Brass Section
Unknown – Vocal Chorus
 
Neither of Ray's last two Sun discs fared very well in the marketplace and Charlie Terrell was soon back out there looking for another recording deal. He found a small one, with Roland Janes Rita Records in Memphis, and a potentially bigger one with Vee Jay in Chicago. Neither worked out well, and Ray next did the rounds, to Warner Bros., Smash, Tollie, Celebrity Circle, and Diamond. Around 1966 the options dried up and Smith made three singles for BC, a label owned by Charlie Terrell himself. By now, Smith had long since lost his guitarist, Stanley Walker, who went to work for singer Jean Shepard appearing on the Grand Ole Opry and the 'Hee Haw' TV show.
 
For Biography of Ray Smith see: > The Sun Biographies <
Ray Smith's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
Ray Smith decided to move his family to Burlington, Ontario to play the club circuit in  southeastern Canada. He was disillusioned with recording and found Ontario a better base  for touring in the northern part of the USA.
 
He said that it gave him better media exposure  too: ''I had TV shows all over Canada, on Channel 9, Toronto, Channel 11 Hamilton, and  Ottawa Channel 12''.
 
His music was now moving back towards country. He recorded into the 1970s on another  string of labels, from Caravan to Corona, and on to Zirkon and Celebrity Circle. In 1972 he  had a small hit on Nashville's hot label, Cinnamon, but it was then that his long association  with Charlie Terrell ended.
 
According to Terrell: ''Ray was making good money, playing good  clubs and venues, and he was driving Cadillacs - but his biggest fault was that he didn't want  to get out and do any promotional work''.
 
''I continued to manage him even after he moved home to Canada but I was unable to get  him to follow up on the good opportunities we had. I was busy with other things and couldn't  chase him all round the country, and we just had to drop out of that arrangement. Ray was  always a drinker - but it got more and more as time went on''. Ray's step brother, Don  Hindman, said: ''Ray had talent, but he just wouldn't leave the booze alone''.
 
Ray Smith ended his recording career several years later on small Canadian labels like Wix  and Boot. By then, he was recording for the rock and roll revival market and combining his  own songs with interpretations of songs by Presley, Lewis, and the other big leaguers.  Originally a rhythm guitarist on stage, Ray had always played piano too, though not on  records, and he now started to make the piano more of a feature in his act. Reviewing an  album on Wix, writer Bill Millar found: ''Smith pounds the piano with a ferociousness fit to  upset the Richter Scale, and his under-developed sense of accuracy – on a par with Esquerita  – simply adds to the fun''.
 
In 1978 and 1979, Smith toured the revival scene in England and other counties in Europe. It  was to mixed reviews. In London, too much beer consumed before a show found Bill Millar  among an audience suffering ''fluffed words, unexpected screams and general ineptness...  he tried to kick the piano stool and missed... a unique theatrical experience''. Yet other  shows from the period were a resounding success and, on his more sober days, it was still  easy in the late 1970s to see through the years and back to the real Ray Smith – the man  who had so impressed Charlie Terrell and Sam and Jud Phillips. The man with one of the best and most adept voices in popular music, the man with the ability to sell a song both on  record and on stage, the showman who was at home with the piano or the guitar, and with  the music of the million dollar quartet or the ratpack. The man with the a line in witty or  sarcastic quips, and with a desire to succeed.
 
Success in Ray Smith's personal life came and went the same way it did in his career. On  November 29, 1979, he went to visit his estranged wife, Lillie, apparently to talk about him  coming back home. The conversation didn't go well. According to Charlie Terrell: ''After he  was in Canada, Ray was eating pills as well as drinking. He committed suicide after he came  back from a tour. He'd been on prozac from a doctor, and he had these personal problems.  He'd been messing around with a secretary near Hamilton, Ontario and he came off tour to  see his wife to get her back. She took him back many times before, but this time she  wouldn't do it. He was depressed – he couldn't stand and any kind of rejection. He took a gun  from the drawer and shot himself. Their son was right there in the house''. Terrel was one of  the pallbearers at Ray Smith's funeral on December 2, 1979. The Phillips brothers, Sam and  Judd, survived Ray Smith by over one and two decades respectively. Jud Phillips died on  July 20, 1992 in Memphis, from throat cancer. He had continued in some aspects of artist  promotion for many years after giving up Judd Records as well as running a number of other  business including a bottling plant in his home town of Florence, Alabama. Sam Phillips died  in July 2003 in Memphis. Bill Lowery died in Atlanta in 2004.
 
The last link to Ray Smith and the Rock And Roll boys manager Charlie Terrell, and the last  active member was Stanley Walker, whose band still advertised in the Paducah Sun in 2006,  playing local fairs and old peoples tea dances. Not a fate that Ray Smith would have aspired  to, and not one the highly talented, highly strung, and intermittently focused singer was  ever likely to have achieved.
OCTOBER 27, 1961 FRIDAY
 
Former country Grammy winners The Kingston Trio make a guest appearance on ''The Bell Telephone Hour''. The NBC-TV show also features The Benny Goodman Trio and The McGuire Sisters.
 
OCTOBER 29, 1961 SUNDAY
 
Bing and Kathy Crosby have a son, Nathaniel Crosby, in Los Angeles. Bing hit the country charts in 1944 with The Andrews Sisters on ''Pistol Packin' Mama''.
 
The Everly Brothers appear on ''The Ed Sullivan Show'', along with comedian George Gobel and Broadway star Robert Goulet.
 
OCTOBER 30, 1961 MONDAY
 
The John Wayne western ''The Comancheros'' opens in theaters. It inspires the Caude King hit with the same title.
 
OCTOBER 31, 1961 TUESDAY
 
Drummer Larry Mullen Jr. is born in Dublin, Ireland. He joins the rock band U2, entering the Rock And Roll Hall of fame in 2005. He also backs up Bono on ''Dreaming With Tears In My Eyes'' for the album, ''The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers - A Tribute''.
NOVEMBER 1961
 
PI 3571 ''Elephant Walk'' b/w ''Catching Up'' by Brad Suggs issued.
 
NOVEMBER 1, 1961 WEDNESDAY
 
Skeeter Davis recorded ''Where I Ought To Be''.
 
NOVEMBER 2, 1961 THURSDAY
 
Singer k.d. lang is born in Consort, Alberta. Debuting as a Patsy Cline-influenced artist in the 1980s, she earns two Grammy awards in the country field, then expands into wider stylistic waters.
 
NOVEMBER 3, 1961 FRIDAY
 
Hank Williams, music publisher Fred Rose and Jimmie Rodgers are the first inductees in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
 
Columbia released Carl Smith's ''Air Mail To Heaven''.
 
NOVEMBER 4, 1961 SATURDAY
 
Filming begins in Idyllwild, California, for the Elvis Presley boxing movie, ''Kid Galahad''.
 
NOVEMBER 5, 1961 SUNDAY
 
Jimmy Dean performs ''Big Bad John'' in New York for CBS's ''The Ed Sullivan Show''.
 
NOVEMBER 7, 1961 TUESDAY
 
Sun 370 ''Uncle Jonah's Place'' b/w ''Just One Step'' by Harold Dorman issued.
 
NOVEMBER 8, 1961 WEDNESDAY
 
Marty Robbins recorded ''Sometimes I'm Tempted''.
 
NOVEMBER 9, 1961 THURSDAY
 
Brian Epstein first sees The Beatles, whom he is destined to manage, at The Cavern in Liverpool, England. The Fab Four will write several songs that become country hits, including ''I Feel Tine'', ''Something'' and ''I Don't Want To Spoil The Party''.
 
NOVEMBER 10, 1961 FRIDAY
 
Jim Reeves recorded ''When Two Worlds Collide'', ''I Won't Forget You'' and ''Blue Side Of Lonesome'' during the evening at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
Columbia released Stonewall Jackson's ''A Wound Time Can't Erase''.
 
Singer and songwriter Brian Henningsen is born in Jarman Hospital in Tuscola, Illinois. He forms The Henningsens with his children, Aaron and Clara Henningsen, and co-writes The Band Perry hits ''You Lie'' and ''All Your Life''.
 
NOVEMBER 11, 1961 SATURDAY
 
Doyle Wilburn marries Margie Bowes.
 
NOVEMBER 12, 1961 SUNDAY
 
Brenda Lee sings ''Fool Number 1'' on CBS's variety series ''The Ed Sullivan Show''. Also on the broadcast from New York, The Ames Brothers and Pearl Bailey.
 
NOVEMBER 13, 1961 MONDAY
 
Decca Records released Burl Ives ''A Little Bitty Tear''.
 
NOVEMBER 14, 1961 TUESDAY
 
Ray Charles is arrested in Indianapolis on drug charges, after buying marijuana and heroin two days earlier. Within months, Charles will recorded the album ''Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music''.
 
The Everly Brothers recorded ''Crying In The Rain'' at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee. Tammy Wynette has a minor country hit with the song in 1981.
 
Wynn Stewart and businessman Don Spafford open a Las Vegas club, Nashville Nevada. They call attention to the club's hours, it's open 24-hours-a-day, by dropping the key to the front door from an airplane into the desert.
 
Johnny Cash is jailed in Nashville for public intoxication after trying to kick in the door of a nightclub that was closed near Printers Alley.
 
NOVEMBER 15, 1961 WEDNESDAY
 
Patti Page recorded ''Go On Home''.
 
NOVEMBER 20, 1961 MONDAY
 
Little Jimmy Dickens recorded ''The Violet And A Rose'' during an afternoon session at Nashville's Bradley Recording Studio.
 
Billy Walker recorded ''Charlie's Shoes'' and ''Funny How Time Slips Away'' during an evening session at Nashville's Bradley Film and Recording Studio.
 
Jim Reeves recorded ''Welcome To My World'' during the evening at Nashville's RCA Studio B. He also recorded ''Have You Ever Been Lonely (Have You Ever Been Blue)'', which becomes a hit 20 years later when his vocals are paired with Patsy Cline.
 
Pop piano player Jim Brickman is born in Cleveland, Ohio. He archives a country hit when Martina McBride provides the vocals for his recording ''Valentine'' in 1996.
 
At the top of this list stands a big, big man, ''Big Bad John'' takes Jimmy Dean to number 1 on the Billboard country chart.
 
NOVEMBER 21, 1961 TUESDAY
 
The singles Sun 371 ''Bonnie B'' b/w ''Money'' by Jerry Lee Lewis; and Sun 372 ''Travelin' Salesman'' b/w ''Won't Miss You (Til You Go)'' by Ray Smith issued.
 
Jim Reeves recorded ''Adios Amigo'' and ''Am I That Easy To Forget'' in the evening at Nashville's RCA Studio B.
 
RCA Victor released Elvis Presley's ''Can't Help Falling In Love'' and is a pop ballad and published by Gladys Music, Elvis Presley's publishing company It was written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George David Weiss The melody is based on "Plaisir dámour'' (1784), a popular romance by Jean Paul Egide Martini (1741–1816). It was featured in Elvis Presley's 1961 film, ''Blue Hawaii''. During the following four decades, it was recorded by numerous other artists, including British reggae group UB40, whose 1993 version topped the U.S. and UK charts, and Swedish pop group A-Teens.
 
Elvis Presley's version of the song, which topped the British charts in 1962, has appeared in numerous other films, including the 2000 film Coyote Ugly and the 2002 Disney film Lilo & Stitch. The single is certified by the RIAA as a Platinum record, for US sales in excess of one million copies. In the United States, the Elvis Presley version of the song peaked at number two on the pop chart and went to number one on the Easy Listening chart for six weeks.

During Presley's late 1960s and 1970s live performances, the song was performed as the show's finale. Most notably, it was also sung in the live segment of his 1968 NBC television special, and as the closer for his 1973 Global telecast, Aloha From Hawaii. A version with a faster arrangement was used as the closing for Presley's final TV special, ''Elvis In Concert''.

NOVEMBER 22, 1961 WEDNESDAY

Paramount released Elvis Presley's movie ''Blue Hawaii''.

With 250,000 people watching from the sidewalk, Gene Autry serves as grand marshall of the Santa Claus Lane parade in Hollywood. Others taking part include Shelley Fabares, Robert Stack and Kris Kringle.

NOVEMBER 24, 1961 FRIDAY

The Everly Brothers are officially enlisted in the military for six months. They report to Camp Pendleton, California.

Columbia released Marty Robbins '''Sometimes I'm Tempted''.

Gene Autry pleads guilty in Los Angeles to driving drunk, receiving a 30-day suspended sentence, a $500 fine and three years probation.

NOVEMBER 25, 1961 SATURDAY

Disc jockey Eddie Stubbs is born in Bethesda, Maryland. A musician with the bluegrass group The Johnson Mountain Boys, he works with Nashville's WSM Radio, where he announces the Grand Ole Opry and becomes a voice for the genre's heritage artists.

After The New York Journal American's Dorothy Kilgallen referred to a Carnegie Hall lineup of country stars as ''Carnegie Hillbillies'', Patsy Cline shoots back on a stage in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, referring to her as ''the wicked witch of the east''.

NOVEMBER 28, 1961 TUESDAY

Jimmie Rodgers' widow, Carrie, dies of cancer in San Antonio, Texas, 25 days after his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame''.

NOVEMBER 29, 1961 WEDNESDAY

The Grand Ole Opry comes to Carnegie Hall, with Patsy Cline, Grandpa Jones, Bill Monroe, Minnie Pearl, Marty Robbins, Jim Reeves, Faron Young and The Jordanaires. The performance benefits the Musicians' Aid Society. In the crowd, Jimmy Dean and comic Jack Benny.

Guitarist Duke Levine is born in Worcester, Massachusetts. He works with Mary Chapin Carpenter, backing her on ''Somewhere Down Below The Mason Dixon Line'', her contribution to the 1997 album ''The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers - A Tribute''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Charles Jones led an rhythm and blues combo in his hometown of Memphis alongside a teenaged Isaac Hayes. In a highly implausible move, Jones adopted the name of Jeb Stewart (after a General who'd fought in the Civil War) before setting out to find a record deal. Thanks to a good word from Rufus Thomas, Phillips International unfurled the red carpet in 1960 and this Joe Tex-styled stomper very nearly became a national breakout. As Jeb Stuart, he later recorded for Kent, King and San Wayne Records.
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR JEB STUART
FOR SUN RECORDS 1961
 
SAM PHILLIPS RECORDING STUDIO
639 MADISON AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE LATE 1961
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM PHILLIPS 
AND/OR KNOX PHILLIPS
 
Composer: - Buddy Killen-Robert Riley
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Tree Music
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take (2:34)
Recorded: - Unknown Date Late 1961 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30106 B-6 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 6 - SUNSET SOUL
 
Composer: - Buddy Killen-Robert Riley
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Tree Music
Matrix number: P 414 - Master (2:34)
Recorded: - Unknown Date Late 1961
Released: - February 1962
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3575-A mono
I BETCHA GONNA LIKE IT / LITTLE MISS LOVE
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806-4/3 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6
 
Like Freddie North, Jeb Stuart was another artist who did his share of listening to the radio. This may be the best of Stuart's four Phillips International releases. Old Jeb knew how to be commercial, if nothing else. The A-side features a tribute to some obscure juke joint that lies out there beyond the city limits. Singing the praises of joints like this is a time-honored tradition. At the time Jeb's record appeared, Chris Kenner was doing it with ''I Liked It Like That'', but the tradition was far older. Amos Milburn's ''Chicken Shack Boogie'', and Freddie Slack's ''House Of Blue Lights'' take it back at least 15 years and, more recently on Sun, Harold Dorman tried his hand with ''Uncle Jonah's Place''.
 
Jeb's tune features the glorious and memorable line ''The drum and the bass, they kick like a mule''. There was a vaguely Sun-related postscript to ''I Betcha Gonna Like It''. In 1964, with his career deeply in the doldrums, Jerry Lee Lewis recorded the song, although it was held back for the dreadful ''Soul My Way'' album.
 
The song itself was written by Tree Music boss Buddy Killen, and 9wait for yet another tenuous Sun connection), Robert Riley, the co-writer of ''Just Walkin' In The Rain''.
Never a unidimensional artist, Jeb gets into his Sam Cooke bag for the flipside ''Little Miss Love''. If Sun couldn't sell records like this in February 1962, there was something wrong with their promotion department.
 
Composer: - Percy Mayfield
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Curtom Publishers – Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 412 - Master (2:20)
Recorded: - Unknown Date August 1961
Studio Location Unknown
Released: - October 16, 1961
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3574-B mono
DON'T MAKE ME CRY / SOMEDAY SHE'LL COME ALONG
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806-4/1 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6
 
> LITTLE MISS LOVE <
Composer: - Percy Mayfield
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Curtom Publishers - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take (2:04)
Recorded: - Unknown Date August 1961 - Not Originally Issued
Released: -2015
First appearance: - Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 813-33 mono
GOING HOME - THE ROAD TO SOUL
 
 
Composer: - Robert Riley-Johnny Bragg
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (2:42)
Recorded: - Unknown Date Late 1961
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30106 B-5 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 6 - SUNSET SOUL
Reissued: - April 1989 Charly Records (L) 33rpm Sunbox 109-5/9 mono
SUN RECORDS INTO THE 60S - BETCHA GONNA LIKE IT
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jeb Stuart – Vocal
Scotty Moore – Guitar
Brad Suggs – Guitar
Al Jackson – Drums
Larry Muhoberac – Piano
Robert Oldham – Tenor Saxophone
William Maherry – Tenor Saxophone
 
For Biography of Jeb Stuart see: > The Sun Biographies <
Jeb Stuart's Sun/PI recordings can be heard on his playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR RAYBURN ANTHONY
FOR SUN RECORDS 1961
 
SAM PHILLIPS RECORDING STUDIO
639 MADISON AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE FALL 1961
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM PHILLIPS
AND/OR SCOTTY MOORE OR UNKNOWN
 
Composer: - Buddy Killen-Rayburn Anthony
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Tree Publishing
Matrix number: - U 465 - Master (2:07)
Recorded: - Unknown Date Fall 1962
Released: - January 19, 1962
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single Sun 373-A mono
HOW WILL I KNOW / BIG DREAM
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-4/13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4
 
This is a really unusual record. ''How Well I Know'' is a fairly conventional and highly competent Nashville ballad that gives us a deeper look at Anthony's crackling baritone voice. In his own rather limited way, the man was a stylist Groaner to be sure.
 
This was undeniably a country pop record, but, even so, it's worth mentioning that most country crossover records in 1962 did not feature mellow saxophones in place of steel guitars.
''Big Dream'' is where things start to get interesting. Anthony's connection to Carl Mann and the Jackson, Tennessee sound is quite apparent. There's almost no difference between the sound of ''Big Dream'' and the opening to Mann's ''Rockin' Love''.
 
Whereas Mann broke free and turned his song into a rocker, Anthony maintains this taut little rhythmic riff lead by sticks on a closed hi-hat. Those alternating choruses (''Big dreams sometimes fall apart...'') break some of the tension, but certainly not all of it. And just when you think you're clear, Wham! You're back into that talk-sing ''Yeh, once I Had a big dream'' part of the cycle. In truth, this record is a tape loop.
 
It could have ended after one run through, gone through a second or third, or faded after a fourth try. It doesn't matter. Nothing changes and nothing develops lyrically or musically. But for some reason, this works really well, and when we start the final fade midway into cycle number 3, it feels like, ''yeh, old Rayburn is 'really' stuck. He really 'did' have a big dream that went nowhere''. You've got to love Ray's voicing on the word broken. There's no telling what this guy might have done during Sun's golden era.
 
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 466 - Master (2:14)
Recorded: - Unknown Date Fall 1961
Released: - January 19, 1962
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single Sun 373-B mono
BIG DREAM / HOW WILL I KNOW
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15804-4/14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 4
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rayburn Anthony – Vocal
Carl Mann - Piano
Probably Musicians
Eddie Bush – Guitar
R.W. ''T-Willie'' Stevenson – Bass
Tony Austin - Drums
Tony Austin probably recorded here on this day his own session.
 
Vinnie Trout – Strings Arranged
Unknown – Vocal Chorus
 
For Biography of Rayburn Anthony see: > The Sun Biographies <
Rayburn Anthny's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR TONY AUSTIN
FOR SUN RECORDS
 
SAM PHILLIPS RECORDING STUDIO
639 MADISON AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE(S) PROBABLY FALL 1961
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - CECIL SCAIFE
 
Tony Austin was a drummer and vocalist with Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, also from the Jackson,   Tennessee area, Austin recorded with the Carl Mann band in a surprising white-soul style. The band is   country rock and the song rockabilly, but the era was that of soul and the result is dominated by the new bass   line and vocal phrasing of the latter. Tony Austin will be inducted into the International Rockabilly Hall of   Fame. "Back in the day, rockabilly was the hottest thing going", Austin said. "People still like it, especially   here in the south''. Born in Jackson and still a resident, Austin says he appreciates all the work that has gone   into the museum. "I enjoy coming here and seeing all the artifacts and old recordings and instruments that   were used back then. Rockabilly kids love coming and seeing it for the first time''.
 
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 (2:51)
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30106 B-3 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 6 - SUNSET SOUL
Reissued: - April 1989 Charly Records (LP) Sunbox 109-3/7 mono
SUN RECORDS INTO THE 60S - THE JACKSON CONNECTION
 
After the last of Rayburn's three singles had appeared on Sun, Austin went back to audition some material for Phillips. He had a bassist, Wes Beavers, in tow. Phillips invited them to stay and work up some material. The result was a gloriously idiosyncratic version of ''Blue Suede Shoes'' that sounded good to Phillips that night and even sounded good when he arrived stone cold sober the next day. ''It was pretty funky'', recalled Austin, ''I was playing sock cymbal with my left foot and piano at the same time. I believe I whistled the break. We were two sheets to the wind and I'd taken a couple of pills as well. Sam would nip with you, of course. We got pretty shit faced that night''.
 
''Blue Suede Shoes'' was scheduled with a song that Austin wrote about his daughter, ''Susie'' as Sun 398. However, it was never issued and the number was assigned later that year to Randy and the Radiants.
 
SUSIE
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
 
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Incomplete Take - Chatter (1:46)
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
Released: August 20, 2013
First appearance: - Sun Records X5 Music Group (MP3) Internet Sample-3 mono
VARIOUS ARTISTS - CLASSIC COUNTRY BALLADS
 
I WANT TO BELONG TO YOU
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
 
MISSOURI LOU
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
 
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued (2:01)
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
Released: - September 4, 2012
First appearance: - Sun Records X5 Music Group (MP3) Internet Sample-16 mono
VARIOUS ARTISTS - SUN RECORDS - COUNTRY ARCHIVE
 
Composer: - Hal David-Paul Hampton
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Shapiro Bernstein Music
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued (2:55)
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
Released: - October 22, 2013
First appearance: Sun Records X5 Music Group (MP3) Internet Sample-14 mono
VARIOUS ARTISTS - COUNTRY HITS OF THE 60S
 
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued (4:22)
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
Released: - September 17, 2013
First appearance: - Sun Records X5 Music Group (MP3) Internet Sample-3 mono
VARIOUS ARTISTS - BROKEN HEARTED
 
TONY'S INSTRUMENTAL
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
 
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Chatter Sam Phillips - Not Originally Issued (3:00)
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
Released: - Sun Records X5 Music Group (MP3) Internet Sample-11 mono
VARIOUS ARTISTS - SILLY COUNTRY
 
Deciding to make his career closer to home, Austin launched the Somewhere Else Club in Jackson that played host to the local talent and, after that folded, he began work in local lounges singing and playing keyboards. He remains there to this day (1989). The magic of his buddies from Jackson never quite rubbed off on Austin as a performer. The hit remained elusive although he has certainly had the joy of seeing his songs hit the charts in the hands of others.
 
Some of his Sun repertoire bears the hallmark of one whose indulgence in alcohol and chemicals has reached the point of excess. Many takes of an instrumental of duck noises (in the key of G) are witness to the numbing potential of Jack Daniels. However, the big pill behind the ''Big Dream'' and ''Jack D.'' combined to make ''Blue Suede Shoes'' one of the most idiosyncratic records cut at Sun in the 1960s.
 
BETTY SUE
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
 
DON'T INVITE US TO THE SAME PARTY
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
 
PARTY DOLL
Composer: - James Bowen-Buddy Knox
Publisher: - Windswept Pacific Music
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
 
SCHOOL FOR A FOOL
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably Fall 1961
 
IT'S GOOD AND I LIKE IT
Composer: - Tony Austin
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: -Probably Fall 1961
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Tony Edwin Austin - Vocal & Drums
Wes Beavers - Bass
Eddie Bush - Guitar
Probably Carl Mann - Piano
Unknown - Trumpet
Unknown - Kazoo (Mirliton)
 
For Biography of Tony Austin see: > The Sun Biographies <
Tony Austin's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
 
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Tony Edwin Austin was born in Jackson, Tennessee on October 29, 1938, the son of Elmer Austin and Ruby Gunter Austin. He was the cousin of Carl Perkins and played drums for the tours. Tony spent his entire life as a musician, singer and songwriter. Working on Jackson's 1950's musical legacy, Tony was well know worldwide for his work with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee ''Smoochy'' Smith, Rex Hale, The Burnette Brothers, and recorded with the Carl Mann band in a surprising white-soul style.

Austin did sessions on Sun Records and toured again with Carl Perkins in the 1960s, as well as with many stars of the Grand Ole Opry. Over the years he has been a nightclub owner and has had success as a songwriter. Tony Edwin Austin died on Saturday, November 8, 2014, at Jackson Madison County General Hospital at the age of 76.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Sometime around 1960-1961 Mack Self decided ''that Sam wasn't going to do anything for me''. He moved on to the Zone label and has recorded for a number of small, independent labels since, including a number of selfproduced projects.
 
Session Published for Historical Reasons
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR MACK SELF
FOR ZONE RECORDS 1961
 
AMERICAN SOUND STUDIO
827 THOMAS AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
ZONE SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE FALL 1961
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – CHIPS MOMAN
 
THAT MEXICAN LIMBO
Composer: - Mack Self
Publisher: - B.M.I. - M. E. Ellis Music
Matrix number: - None - Master (2:12)
Recorded: - Unknown Date Fall 1961
Released: - November 1962
First appearance: - Zone Records (S) 45rpm standard single Zone 1062-A mono
THAT MEXICAN LIMBO / YOU PUT THESE TEARS IN MY EYES
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16519-27 mono
MACK SELF - THE SUN YEARS PLUS
 
''Mexican Limbo'', entering Mack's post-Sun era, this record was released on M.E. Elli's Zone label, Mack recalls, ''I was driving in my truck near a place called Elaine (pronounced E-lane) Arkansas. It's cotton country down there and full of very small towns. I saw these Mexican people out there in the field picking cotton and they inspired me to write the song. I cut it at American Sound in Memphis in 1961. I didn't have that the originally. When I started singing it I called it the ''Mexican Cha Cha''. Chips Moman said, 'Mack, change that to ''Mexican Limbo'''. He was right about the title''.
 
''You Put These Tears In My Eyes'', this is a very pretty ballad, taking us back to the country waltz genre where Mack thrives as a composer and performer. You underestimate or ignore tracks like this surprised if you have the song running through your head three days later when you least expect it. Towards the end of the recording, Mack opts for one of those wordless chant that helped make his early ''Easy To Love'' so special.
 
YOU PUT THESE TEARS IN MY EYES
Composer: - Mack Self
Publisher: - B.M.I. - M. E. Ellis Music
Matrix number: - None - Master (3:03)
Recorded: - Unknown Date Fall 1961
Released: - November 1962
First appearance: - Zone Records (S) 45rpm standard single Zone 1062-B mono
YOU PUT THESE TEARS IN MY EYES / THAT MEXICAN LIMBO
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16519-29 mono
MACK SELF - THE SUN YEARS PLUS
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Mack Self – Vocal & Guitar
Red Baker – Lead Guitar
Jimmy Evans – Rhythm Guitar
Billy Self – Bass
Herb Phyron - Drums
 
For Biography of Mack Self see: > The Sun Biographies <
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
DECEMBER 1961
 
The film “Babes In Toyland” premieres during December of 1961. “Babes In Toyland” was created by Walt Disney and was the first live action musical to be produced by the company. The film, starred Ray Bolger, Tommy Sands, Ed Wynn, and Annette Funicello. The Mother Goose themed musical focused on the evil character of Barnaby’s plot to derail the upcoming marriage between characters Tom and Mary in an attempt to further his own romantic agenda. Despite heavy promotion the film was considered a flop for Disney but it did receive two Academy Award nominations for Best Costumes and Best Music.
 
DECEMBER 3, 1961 SUNDAY
 
Lew Childre dies at his home in Foley, Alabama. The multi-faceted entertainer used numerous vaudevillian skills in a career that spanned comedy, tent shows, radio, recording and a run on the Grand Ole Opry.
 
DECEMBER 4, 1961 MONDAY
 
Billboard reported that ''Money'' by Jerry Lee Lewis ''is a blues styling from Lewis here with punching best and big band sounds in the background. The boy also plays some mean piano. Good wax'', and ''Bonnie B'' side moves right along. Lewis sings about his gal Bonnie in the highest of terms. He also moves some great Boogie Woogie piano. Combo supplies the backin''.
 
DECEMBER 5, 1961 TUESDAY
 
Eddy Arnold recorded ''Tears Broke Out On Me'' at Nashville's RCA Studio B.
 
June Carter performs on Johnny Cash's live show for the first time at ''The Big D Jamboree'' in Dallas, Texas. Two months later, she becomes a regular member of the Man in Black's road show.
 
Jimmy Dean recorded ''P.T. 109'' and ''Dear Ivan''.
 
DECEMBER 6, 1961 WEDNESDAY
 
Buck Owens recorded ''Kickin' Our Hearts Around'' in the evening at the Hollywood studios of Capitol Records.
 
Gene Autry is arrested on drunk driving charges in Los Angeles after nearly hitting maintenance workers with his station wagon near the corner of Sunshine Terrace and Layrel canyon. Just two weeks prior, he pleaded guilty to a previous DUI.
 
DECEMBER 7, 1961 THURSDAY
 
Hawkshaw Hawkins and Jean Shepard have a son, Don Robin Hawkins, named for Don Gibson and Marty Robbins.
 
DECEMBER 8, 1961 FRIDAY
 
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans are featured guests during the NBC-TV music series ''The Bell Telephone Hour''.
 
DECEMBER 11, 1961 MONDAY
 
Bill Anderson recorded ''Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands''.
 
DECEMBER 12, 1961 TUESDAY
 
Roy Acuff begins a one-month tour in Spain and Morocco, sponsored by the    United Service Organizations , to perform for American troops.
 
DECEMBER 14, 1961 THURSDAY
 
Henderson, Texas, declares Jim Reeves Day.
 
Jimmy Dean's ''Big bad John'' becomes the first country-based record awarded a gold single by the Recording Industry Association of America.
 
Rick Nelson performs ''Everlovin''' on ABC-TV's ''The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet''.
 
DECEMBER 15, 1961 FRIDAY
 
Columbia released Jimmy Dean's Cold War recitation ''Dear Ivan''.
 
Gospel singer James B. Coats dies. His 1942 title ''The Sweetest Gift'' is destined to become a 1977 country hit for Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.
 
DECEMBER 17, 1961 SUNDAY
 
Patsy Cline recorded ''She's Got You'' during an evening session at Nashville's Bradley Film and Recording Studio.
 
DECEMBER 18, 1961 MONDAY
 
Patsy Cline is diagnosed with a nervous breakdown, forcing her to spend the next two weeks in bed at home.
 
DECEMBER 20, 1961 WEDNESDAY
 
Elvis Presley finished work on the movie ''Kid Galahad''.
 
DECEMBER 21, 1961 THURSDAY
 
Elvis Presley gets his third gold album with the soundtrack to ''Blue Hawaii''. In the United States, the album spent 20 weeks at the number one slot and 39 weeks in the Top 10 on Billboard's Top Pop LPs chart. It was certified Gold on December 21, 1961, Platinum and 2x Platinum on March 27, 1992 and 3x Platinum on July 30, 2002 by the Recording Industry Association of America. On the US Top Pop Albums chart ''Blue Hawaii'' is second only to the soundtrack of West Side Story as the most successful album of the 1960s.
 
DECEMBER 22, 1961 FRIDAY
 
Warner Bros. released The Everly Bothers' pop hit ''Crying In The Rain''. Tammy Wynette gains a minor country hit with the song in 1981.
 
DECEMBER 25, 1961 MONDAY
 
Harlan and Jan Howard give their boys a collie for Christmas. They name the puppy Bucko, for Buck Owens.
 
DECEMBER 27, 1961 WEDNESDAY
 
''The Steve Allen Show'' airs for the last time on NBC, more than five years after it began. The variety series' comedic host wrote the 1950 crossover hit ''Let's Go To Church (Next Sunday Morning)'', recorded by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely.
 
DECEMBER 29, 1961 FRIDAY
 
Columbia released Jimmy Dean's ''To A Sleeping Beauty'', written by Jackie Gleason.
 
DECEMBER 30, 1961 SATURDAY
 
Jack Greene is asked to be Ernest Tubb's drummer when Tubb's plays Atlanta's East Point. Six months later, he's in the band.
 
DECEMBER 31, 1961 SUNDAY
 
Janis Joplin performs her first concert at the Halfway House in Beaumont, Texas. Joplin's ''Me And Bobby McGee'' is ranked among the 500 greatest country singles of all-time in the Country Music Foundation book ''Heartaches By The Number''.
 
Johnny Cash plays in Camden, New Jersey, with June carter, Flatt and Scruggs and Marty Robbins. While Robbins performs, bass player Marshall Grant tosses an M-80 into a urinal backstage, the resulting blast covering a dressing rook in sewage.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
- THE SISKIN TAPES -
 
This recordings contains 11 songs from the Prisonaires, a disc pressed for the personal use of a prison sponsor named Garrison Siskin, a successful businessman and renowned philanthropist from Chattanooga. It seems that a very limited number of copies of the disc were made and less than a handful survived. Thanks to the Siskin disc, and we are now able to hear this phase in the recorded life of the Prisonaires.
 
The precise date of the live recordings is unknown but there are some clues. One of the songs was not written until mid-1957 and Lynn Bomar who is heard introducing the disc died in 1964, so that gives a six and a half year period of possibility. It is most likely that the tapes from which the LP was pressed were made either during 1958 or during the years 1961 or 1962. Johnny Bragg sings lead on the recordings but he was out of prison on parole throughout 1959 and when he returned in 1960 he apparently did not start to sing.
 
It is almost certain that these recordings were made inside the Tennessee State Penitentiary because there are spoken references to being ''here at the Tennessee State Prison'' although it is possible that they were recorded as part of live radio broadcasts or a radio tape to be broadcast later, there is reference at one point to ''someone listening to this tape somewhere''. The first eight recordings are effectively a concert by the Prisonaires, though not a live one in front of an audience as there is no extraneous sound seeping though, but the last three songs are different; they were addressed personally to Garrison Siskin and added to the end of the tape along with a personal message from Warden Bomar to Siskin overlaid when the LP was made.
 
Session Published for Historical Reasons
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR THE PRISONAIRES
 
TENNESSEE STATE PENITENTIARY, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
EXCELLO SESSION: VARIOUS DATES PROBABLY 1961
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – UNKNOWN
 
The Prisonaires 'concert' starts with second tenor singer, Alfred Brooks, making an introduction to the first song, ''When The Saints Go Marching In''. His script makes clear the prisoners' support for the rehabilitation program and leaves the listener and any potential benefactor in no doubt about the role of the warden: ''We the Prisonaires is very grateful to be able to be a part of the rehabilitation program... which was set up by our warden Mr. Lynn Bomar and the Governor of the state of Tennessee, and we hope as you play this tape you will say a special prayer for us in the group and the other 1600 men here... we want you to know that we feel very happy to be able to put these songs on for you''.
 
So why is Alfred Brooks the spokesman? He only joined the group in 1955 and had a far less prominent profile than Johnny Bragg. It could be that he had better diction or that he was a more reliable reader of the opening script, but it is more likely that the recording dates from around 1961 when Bragg had just returned to prison after a year on parole and was no longer the sole guiding force of the group. Brooks was effectively its leader at that point.
 
''When The Saints Go Marching In'' is taken at an energetic pace following a piano introduction and all members of the group play their part impressively. The lead singer is probably Alfred Brooks but there is also a strong and unusual bass part from James Doyle, including the memorable line about ''when the moon drips away in blood''. At the end of the song Brooks introduces the group members. They are Bragg and himself, lead and second tenor respectively, along with baritone singer Howard Anderson, bass singer James Doyle, Henry Jones on piano, and guitarist L.B. McCollough. These Prisoniares contain only Bragg from the original membership and only Bragg, Jones and probably McCollough from the last Sun recording sessions. Brooks joined in 1955 but two of the new singers from the Marigolds era, Harold Hebb and Willy Wilson are no longer present, having been replaced by Doyle and Anderson.
 
There is nothing known of Anderson although on March 11, 1959 the Kinsport Times newspaper in Tennessee reported on 25 indictments by a circuit court jury and Howard Anderson was one of three people sentenced for breaking and entering. There was a Howard Anderson living near downtown Nashville according to the city directories for the late 1940s, and one of the Anderson Gospel Singers who recorded on Nashville's World label in 1948 may have been named Howard. Any of these people could have been the singer heard on these tapes.
 
WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (3:31)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-1 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
The second song the Prisonaires presented in their concert tape was ''In The Garden'', a gospel vehicle for Johnny Bragg's clear tenor and for impressive ensemble singing from the group. Written in 1912 by Charles Austin Miles, a pharmacist turned hymn writer and publisher from New Jersey, the song was about the meeting between the resurrected Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the garden of Joseph. It has been one of the most popular hymn since the time when it was featured by evangelist and singer Homer Rodeheaver who recorded it for a number of companies from 1910 into the 1930s. ''In The Garden'' was recorded by Jim Reeves on a popular 1959 RCA album ''God Be With You'' and this may have been the specific catalyst for the Prisonaires to include it in their concert although the song had been issued before and around this time by a number of black gospel singers, including Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, Nashville's own Fireside Gospel Singers, and in 1959 by both Clara Ward and the Spirit of Memphis Quartet. On May 27, 1966, Elvis Presley recorded ''In The Garden'' for his Grammy Award winning album ''How Great Thou Art''.
 
IN THE GARDEN
Composer: - Charles Austin Miles
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Robbins Music Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (1L56)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-2 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
A very different but equally good vehicle for the group was ''Bony Moronie'', a throwaway rock and roll song written and recorded by Larry Williams on Specialty Records in 1957. It reached the popular sales charts in November and peaked at number 18 early in 1958. It is not introduced by Alfred Brooks as a new hit song and while it defines the earliest possible date for these tapes it does not really narrow the date down. It appears to be Alfred Brooks singing lead on ''Bony Moronie'' with Johnny Bragg contributing to the group's repetitive ''bony, bony, bony'' and ''who, hohs'' behind Brooks's lead. Interestingly, the group sings about their girl being a ''real good lover'', a line Larry Williams didn't write.
 
BONY MORONIE
Composer: - Larry Williams
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Venice Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (2:42)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-3 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
In considerable contract her ''Suppertime'', a song that paints a vivid picture about 'going home' at last, both in the real world and the next. It was written by gospel songwriter, singer and evangelist, Ira Stanphill, who had been written and performing his songs since he was a teenager in the 1930s in Missouri. His best known song was ''Mansion Over The Hilltop'', but ''Summertime'' came close in popularity down the years. It was moved into the popular domain in 1959 through LP cuts by Johnny Cash and Jim Reeves. Here, Johnny Bragg tells the story emotively while the group's harmonies become more and more intense. Bragg's narrative section is moving but it is difficult to forget the contrast between the song's idealized picture of the happy family called home to eat at the end of the day on the rural homestead and the harsh reality of Bragg's early life in a broken home in urban Nashville. Bragg told Jay Warner he had been a rambunctious child: ''My people would try to whup me when I did something wrong. The neighbours would whup you too if you got in trouble. That's when you got a whuppin, and when you went home you'd get another whuppin''.
 
SUPPER TIME
Composer: - Ira Stanphil
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Brentwood Benson Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (3:58)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-4 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
Next up the group takes a back seat while Henry ''Dishrag'' Jones takes on the old rhythm and blues favourite, ''Caldonia'', written in 1944 by rhythm and blues bandleader Louis Jordan and copyrighted in the name of his wife, Fleecie Moore. It was number 1 Rhythm & Blues hit for Jordan in July 1945 and no kind of a current hit when Jones launched into it but it had been listed by Bragg as among his favourite songs. Jones takes the vocal and plays piano on this song supported by handclaps and 'yeahs' and other encouragement from the group. There is also a drummer on this recording, although one was introduced at the start of the concert underlining that this concert was put together from tapes recorded at different times.
 
Henry Jones is an intriguing character who has not been properly identified. We don't even know where his nickname came from, perhaps a job in a kitchen, or the nature of his hair. It is not clear whether he could have been the same ''Dishrag'' mentioned by blues singers as a formative player on the Memphis blues scene in the 1930s and 1940s. Record producer and musician Jim Dickingson once recalled how as a white child in Memphis, around 1950, ''the family yard man, Alec, brought me a piano player to teach me. He brought me this guy who was legendary. I don’t know what his real name was. They called him ''Dishrag''. You hear people talking about Dishrag... Never took his overcoat of his hat off, sat down at my mother's piano, and started to play like nothing I'd ever heard''. From the few known photographs of ''Dishrag'' Jones, he appears to be roughly the right age for someone who might have been playing piano in Memphis in the 1930s.
 
CALDONIA*/**
Composer: - Fleecie Moore
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Chero Music Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (3:07)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-5 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
The next track enter the realm of small politics as the Prisonaires pay homage to the ''Gentle Hands'' of their warden. Alfred Brooks does his best to sound sincere when saying the group would like to sing ''for out dear beloved warden... a man who we've become to love… and who think, love us... we've tried to live up the the expectations that he wish of us''. Johnny Bragg leads into the song with ''I am guided through the day by gentle hands... and my spirit now is freed by gentle hands'' while the group builds the tension behind him. The song was written by country singer Leon Payne and recorded on Capital Records in 1951. It was recorded by the Blackwood Brothers in 1958 and was firmly a country gospel item until adopted here by the Prisonaires.
 
GENTLE HANDS
Composer: - Leon Payne
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Christian Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (3:17)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-6 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
Next it is time for the group's headline song, ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'', and for Brooks to ''now introduce our lead singer, Johnny Bragg, the feller that at one time had the number one song of the nation''. Bragg responds to the applause with ''Hello... I don't think I deserve that'' and he goes on to give a spiel he must have used a thousand times before at rehabilitation program events: ''I thank God... and our dear beloved warden and the governor of the state... to help to get the song out in the free world''. He specifically does not name the Governor, lending power to the argument that this recording was made during the period Governor Frank Clement was out of office between the start of 1959 and the start of 1963. The new Governor was Bufort Ellington, a friend and former member of Clement's administration and a supporter of the Prisonaires, but he and Bragg were not as close as Bragg and Clement. When Bragg starts to sing the bashful man who took the applause of his fellow singers is gone, he is full of confidence and delivers the song emotionally as if it were hist first version rather than his thousandth. His voice soars and falls wonderfully while the group play their part and join in on the trademark high ending. Their part differs slightly from the Sun recording and the ''ooh wee oohs'' sound just that but more modern here.
 
Talking here about the song Bragg shared the limelight with others, as he always continued to do. He told Bill Millar: ''I'm the co-writer on the song along with Robert Riley...', and he told Millar about the part a young Elvis Presley had played in helping him with his phrasing of the song when it was first recorded: ''We had a lot of trouble with the word change and the people, the Prisonaires and Sam, seemed to think it was a waste of time, ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'', that the song was too weak... but I could see something there... and we worked many hours. Elvis Presley, he was just another guy at the time. Elvis came in the studio and Sam ran him out of the studio... and I asked Sam to let the guy come in and talk with me during the lunch break''.
 
JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN
Composer: - Johnny Bragg-Robert Riley
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hal Leonard Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (3:36)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-7 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
The next track is a fascinating example of how the Governor and warden used the Prisonaires to write songs to flatter particular huests, allies, enemies and sponsors. Note the word ''The Boastin' Texas'' is introduced as ''a song that Governor Frank Clement of Tennessee asked us to write for the Governor of Texas, which was Governor Shivers, and this is what we came up with''. ''was'' because Allan Shivers had left the governor's office in 1957. This is a song that flatters its subject through friendely criticism; it's almost a polite society version of the 'dirty dozens' with the group making fun of the Texan accent and letting Texans know in no uncertain terms they've got nothing Tennessee can't match. Even when singing to the unseen audience for this tape, Bragg becomes very animated in performing the lyric in praise of his home state, despite his own bad experiences in that society.
 
THE BOASTIN' TEXAN
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (2:19)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-8 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
In the introduction to ''A Prisoner's Prayer'', Alfred Brooks continues the theme of ''money please'' saying. ''Mr. Siskin, for you and your wonderful family we cannot find words to say... how much we thank you... for the generosity you have bestowed upon us''. He continues, saying the group is writing songs for Mr. Siskin that they have promised him and will send them ''in a few days... hoping that before long we will be able to sing for you again in prison''. Johnny Bragg delivers ''A Prisoner's Prayer'' in as heartfelt a manner as he did when the song became the Prisonaires second disc on Sun. It was written by James Procter, a white criminal identification police officer, who was inspired by the Prisonaires' tale to write a song about ''a prisoner who may never be free'' and who asks for forgiveness when the lights go out in cell block 23.
 
A PRISONER'S PRAYER
Composer: - James Procter-Johnny Bragg
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Memphis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (3:22)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-10 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
''Only Believe'', is probably the first of the promised songs with Siskin's name on it. At basis, it is an old gospel song written by an evangelist from Colorado, Paul Rader, in 1921 when he was about to become a pioneer in Chicago gospel radio, ''all things are possible, if you'll only believe'', but here it doubles as the backdrop to a narrative about how Mr. Siskin is ''the kind of man God had in mind when he created the human race... (who has) known want but retains humbleness after he's attained material... given freely of his worldly goods, you are out kind of man''.
 
ONLY BELIEVE
Composer: - Paul Rader
Publisher: - B.M.I. - The Rodeheaver Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (3:22)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-11 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
In considerable contrast, the next homage to Siskin places him in the Caribbean. To a catchy calypso beat this man of Jewish origin from Chattanooga is transformed into a Spanish' senior and is told ''he's the man we like to greet/ he's very sweet/ he's a man that can't be beat''. It is likely that Howard Anderson takes the lead vocal here and the lyrics to ''Senor Siskin (He's A Man That Can't Be Beat)'' are as memorable as the Latin rhythm where a drummer is again present. What benefactor could resist forking out his cash after such a musical tribute? We are told that the group ''met Senor Siskin at a great big church'' and that was very likely so if Siskin had been successful in boosting the group's appearances and profile. Siskin was a considerably wealthy philanthropist whom was particularly concerned with causes that aided the handicapped. His father had arrived in Chattanooga in 1900 from Lithuania to escape the persecution of Jewish families there Garrison and his brother Mose sold newspapers on the streets of Chattanooga while their father built up a scrap metal business. In 1926 the brothers took over the business and developed the Chattanooga Steel Supply Co., taking over another business in Atlanta and opening plants in other cities including Nashville. In 1942 Garrison Siskin suffered a life-threatening injury when a heavy object fell on his leg at a railroad station and on his recovery he vowed to devote his life to helping others. In 1950 the brothers set up the Siskin Foundation dedicated to the highest religious, social welfare, educational and humanitarian ideals. Garrison was on the board of directors of Big Brothers of America and was Chairman of the Board of the Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Railway. Siskin later said: ''I took my case up with God. In the early hours of the morning, I would spend my life helping people who could not help themselves. Out parents had in any case taught us that a good name is rather to be chosen than riches. They asked us to make our investments in people, and we invested in people of all races, faiths and cultures. Need was the only prerequisite''. Garrison Siskin died in 1979 but the Siskin Memorial Foundation continues today through the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation in Chattanooga.
 
SENOR SISKIN'**
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (1:52)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-12 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
Alfred Brooks - Tenor Vocal/Announcer
Howard Anderson - Baritone
James Doyle - Bass
L.B. McCollough - Guitar
Henry Jones - Piano & Vocal*
Possibly Hubbard Brown – Drums**
 
MESSAGE FROM PRISON WARDEN LYNN BOMAR (1:08)
Matrix number – None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-19 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - ONLY BELIEVE
 
An spoken message from prison warden Lynn Bomar to Garrison Siskin that was added to the start of the  tape for the LP pressings. It gives a wonderful glimpse of the rehabilitation program at work. Bomar delivers a most ingratiating message: ''for our good friend, the honourable Garrison Siskin of Chattanooga, Tennessee'', recording that he enjoyed their meeting recently and was delighted to learn of Siskin's interest in the Prisonaires. He extends a cordial invitation to visit the penitentiary and thanks Mr. Siskin ''for helping your follow man less fortunate than yourself''. The final three songs above are addressed directly to Siskin and are all about his helping the Prisonaires, presumably by obtaining bookings to perform outside the prison, by donating money to the prison, or perhaps by helping to pursue parole issues on their behalf.
 
For Biography of The Prisonaires see: > The Sun Biographies <
The Prisonaires' Sun recordings can be heard on their playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
DON'T SAY TOMORROW – The Prisonaires had their moment in the national spotlight in the  mid-1950s, but they continued to appear at events in and around Nashville north before and  after Johnny Bragg was released on parole in January 1959 and re-entered prison in 1960  for parole violations.
 
After the original members of the Prisonaires were one by one released from the  penitentiary between 1955 and 1957, the focus fell more and more on their most high  profile member, Johnny Bragg. The perceived success or not of the rehabilitation programme  became tied to an extent to the success of Bragg's life.
 
In his last year under increasing  criticism for endangering the well-being of the public by allowing prisoners to leave the  penitentiary. At the same time, Bragg's biographer has catalogued a number of events  involving jealous prisoners that endangered Bragg himself in the prison. For whatever  mixture of reasons Frank Clement resolved to pardon Bragg and on January 16, 1959  Clement signed his release documents just before leaving office. Shortly after, a UPI press  report recorded: ''Johnny Bragg, who wrote, 'Walkin' In The Rain' in prison, walked into the  sunshine of freedom Wednesday. The Negro convict spent 16 years in the Tennessee  Penitentiary here. Wednesday he was paroled. Former Gov. Frank Clement who had  befriended and helped Bragg, commuted his sentence to life just before he left office earlier  this month. The Pardons and Paroles Board said Bragg appeared to have been rehabilitated,  and that he has a job in his uncle's barber shop in Nashville. He must report regularly to a  parole officer for the rest of his life''.
 
Johnny Bragg moved into the home of his grandmother Parthenia in north Nashville and  considered how to take his life forward. He certainly did not plan to be a barber. He may  have thought about reforming the original Prisonaires but the others either had jobs or were  unreliable and so Bragg joined with a female singing group, the Solettes, who he met at  Ebeneezer Missionary Baptist church. They played local churches and other shows and  travelled to Memphis, Chattanooga, and Atlanta to sing. Bragg also played on package tours  in the north and played as an opening act in Las Vegas lounges. Frank Clement and Warden  Bomar had put in a word for him with Jack Stapp at Tree Music were Robert Riley was then  working and Stapp paid Bragg to put his song ideas on tape for others to transcribe. Then in  March 1959 Stapp introduced Bragg to record producer Owen Bradley who signed him to the  major label, Decca Records.
 
When he was arrested for violating parole and returned to the penitentiary after only a year  of freedom, Johnny Bragg initially withdrew from music and throughout 1960 he resumed to  sing with the Prisonaires. He rejoined in 1961 after being inspired by visits to the prison  from The Jordanaires and Elvis Presley. The Prisonaires of the 1960s continued to be  allowed to travel to play at Tennessee's churches, county fairs and other events as well as to  entertain the dignatories gathered at the mansion by the new governor, Buford Ellington.  When Frank Clement came back for a second term as governor in January 1963, Johnny  Bragg's singing life was little different that it had been a decade earlier.
 
He told Bill Millar: ''Back inside, I had a third Prisonaires who didn't record but they were  real great''. Thanks to the Siskin tapes we now know that these later Prisonaires were in fact  recorded. It seems that when Bragg first rejoined what he referred to as the ''third  Prisonaires'', the group comprised Alfred Brooks, James Doyle, and a number of other  singers backed by Henry Jones on piano and L.B. McCollough on guitar. This may be exactly  the group we hear on the ''Siskin tapes''.
 
Sometime around 1964, after these recordings were made, there was a new guitarist  replacing L.B. McCollough and new singers in Acie Horton and Sullivan Hayes. The guitarist  was Clarence McKeel, a white country music songwriter, of whom Bragg told Bill Miller,  ''These was a white man added to the Prisonaires – a feller by the name of Clarence McKeel,  we called him Two Flats... a lot of people thought it wouldn't work but Clarence turned out  to be one of the greatest guys, guitarists, we had, great songwriter, good musician''. In May  1965 they were rejoined by an original member of the Prisonaires, Marcel Sanders, who was  back inside for a two year stretch. At this point, James Doyle took the role of main guitarist.
 
There is a surviving audio tape from a Christmas TV Special that aired over a public  broadcast station in Nashville, WDCN-TV in 1966. The Prisonaires that Christmas comprised  Johnny Bragg, A.C. ''Fat Man'' Horton, James Doyle, and Pat Dunn. The eight songs they sang  included ''Joy To The World'', ''White Christmas'', and a Bragg original, ''I Wish Every Day Was  Like Christmas''. In the TV programme it is mentioned that the new Commissioner of the  Department of Corrections, Harry Avery, who took office in 1963 when Frank Clement was  -reelected as Governor, sent staff to make sure that the Prisonaires got back together and  that he has made sure they had ''personal supervision for the last four years''. There is no  evidence that the group had ever not been together, but here was yet another prison leader  finding that it was a good move to take some credit for the existence of the Prisoniares.
 
A report dated December 1968 in the prison records descibes an inventory for the  Prisonaires' and lists items bought for the group: a black amp for $250, a brown amp for  $75, a set of drums for $150, a Univox guitar at $100, a Gibson at $109, a $400 sound  system, microphones, totalling $110, and an organ and pedal piano at $350. More  interestingly, the note goes on to describe perhaps the last group of Prisonaires. They were  James Doyle, descrided as ''received on May 22, 1954 for crime of murder, sentenced to 99  years. Guitarist (sic) and songwriter, age 48, top entertainer with unusual solo voice'', Acie  Horton, ''received in 1960, aged 31 serving 75 years for rape, a tenor, songwriter, good  performer'', Sullivan Hayes, aged 36 and in for assault and burglary, Melvin Mosley serving  ten years for rape from 1966; Clarence McKeel aged 48, ''received in the prison November  1964, first degree murder, a guitarist, songwriter, with songs recorded'', and John Henry  Bragg who is described as ''currently on parole''. The unknown author of this prison fact  sheet wrote of Bragg: ''This man is one of the best showmen that I have ever known. He has  an unusual singing ability with exceptional voice control... You have never met an extrovert  until you have met Johnny Bragg'.
WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE - As well as being the best-known member of the Prisonaires and  the Marigolds, Johnny Bragg also had a solo recording career that had several false starts and  took many turns. In 1959 his extrovert nature led him to drive around Nashville in a  distinctive salmon-coloured car and wearing a suit and bowler hat.  This courted attention  from police and public alike and between 1960 and 1967 he was back in prison, returning  again periodically on parole violations until 1977.
 
After Excello and Decca he recorded for a  label he part-owned, Elbejay Records, and for several other labels, the releases becoming  more obscure from year to year.
 
In December 1971 Johnny Bragg married Gail Green and their daughter, Misti, was born two  days later. They were living at 88 Fain Street in Nashville according to correspondence  between the prison, Bragg and researcher Colin Excott in January 1972.
 
Armed with this information researcher Bill Millar recalled: ''I looked for Johnny Bragg in  October 1972. We drove all around the very black Nashville ghetto, all red dirt roads and no  trees. We were driven around by singer Bobby King, a taxi driver, and we left messages at  the garage where singer Gene Allison worked and at Bragg's sister's house. Two days later  Johnny appeared at out hotel accompanied by his white wife, Gall, and 9 month old  daughter, Misti. He wore pink and white striped slacks and a jacket of pillar-box red. He also  sported an extravagant afro. It wasn't what you'd look like if you didn't want to be noticed!  Like many a sex offender Johnny minimised the seriousness of his offences, blaming his  repeated incarceration on the lack of constitutional rights for the black man''.
 
Johnny Bragg not only continued writing and recording songs for many years but he  continued performing too, mainly at church-sponsored events locally and further afield, but  sometimes at commercial venues. He undertook charitable worked, spending his songwriting  royalties on others as much as himself. His later years were lived with a much lower public  profile than previously.
 
Unlike many other black vocal teams, the original Prisonaires never regrouped for a  latterday career. William Stewart died in Florida in 1964, Marcell Sanders died in the late  1960s, Ed Thurman died in an accident in 1973 and John Drue died of cancer in 1977. Then,  over a quarter century later, the New York Times reported in 2004: ''Johnny Bragg, the  leader of the Prisonaires, a singing group of Tennessee State Penitentiary inmates whose  rhythm and blues music helped start Sam Phillips's Sun Records and influenced Elvis Presley,  died here on Wednesday (September 1). He was 79''. The newspaper noted that the  Prisoners had been pioneers in that they were among the first rhythm and blues vocal group  to record and have hit records released in the south.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Session Published for Historical Reasons
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR CHARLIE FEATHERS
FOR HOLIDAY INN RECORDS 1961/1962
 
PROBABLY SAM PHILLIPS RECORDING STUDIO
639 MADISON AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: LATE 1961/EARLY 1962
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - PROBABLY STAN KESLER
 
With Charlie Feathers' career at a stand still, he worked local gigs only and supported his family with   numerous day jobs including driving an ambulance. In end 1962/early 1963 Charlie Feathers recorded ''Deep   Elm Blues'' b/w ''Nobody's Darlin''' for Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn was owned by Sun's owner Sam Phillips,   who bought shares in the hotel chain when it first began and most likely launched the label as a promotional   device. Again, it's a very sought-after record, but only because it has Feathers' name is on it.
 
DEEP ELM BLUES
Composer: - Traditional-Arranged by Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - A.S.C.A.P. - State Street Music
Matrix number: - HI-41063B - Master (2:33)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961/1962
Released: - April 10, 1963
First appearance: - Holiday Inn Records (S) 45rpm Holiday Inn 114 mono
DEEP ELM BLUES / NOBODY'S DALING
Reissued: - July 1998 Revenant Records (CD) 500/200rpm Revenant 209-21 mono
GET WITH IT - ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS 1954-1969
 
The ''Deep Elm Blues'' is an American traditional song. The title of the tune refers to the "Colored Red Light   District" in downtown Dallas, Texas, known as "Deep Ellum''. Sometimes the song's title is also spelled   "Deep Elem" or "Deep Ellum''. The first known recording was made by the Cofer Brothers under the name   of The Georgia Black Bottom on OKeh Records. The Shelton Brothers recorded various versions of this   song, the first being cut in 1933 with Leon Chappelear under the pseudonym of Lone Star Rangers for   Bluebird Records. 
 
They recorded it again in 1935 for Decca Records followed by ''Deep Elm No.2'' and   ''Deep Elm No.3''. Les Paul (as Rhubarb Red) recorded ''Deep Elem Blues'' and ''Deep Elem Blues No.2'' on   Decca in 1936.
 
The Sheltons also recorded it in the 1940s as ''Deep Elm Boogie'' for King Records. Other   versions of the song were made between 1957 and 1958 by Jerry Lee Lewis for Sun Records, by Mary   McCoy & the Cyclones for Jin Records and, later, by Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, Levon Helm, the   Infamous Stringdusters, Rory Gallagher and most recently by Redhorse Black.

NOBODY'S DARLIN' BUT MINE
Composer: - Jimmy Davis
Publisher: - A.S.C.A.P. - Leeds Music-Peter Maurice Music
Matrix number: - HI-41063A - Master (1:57)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1961/1962
Released: - April 10, 1963
First appearance: - Holiday Inn Records (S) 45rpm Holiday Inn 114 mono
NOBODY'S DALING / DEEP ELM BLUES
Reissued: - July 1998 Revenant Records (CD) 500/200rpm Revenant 209-20 mono
GET WITH IT - ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS 1954-1969

Probably more songs recorded.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Feathers - Vocal and Guitar
More details unknown

For Biography of Charlie Feathers see: > The Sun Biographies <

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