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1954 SESSIONS 9
September 1, 1954 to September 30, 1954

Studio Session for The Prisonaires, September 1954 / Sun Records

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

SEPTEMBER 1954

By 1953, future Sun artist Ray Harris had married and moved to Memphis. He had got a job on the graveyard shift at Firestone working next to Bill Black. ''One day we was taking a break and I asked Bill, 'What you doing in music'? He said that on Saturday nights he was playing at the State Line, some li'l old cob down on the Mississippi-Tennessee state line. He also said he was trying to cut a record up at Sun Records with some boy named Elvis Presley. He asked me to come by during the next session. A couple of weeks went past and I came up to Sun one afternoon. I parked and waited for Bill then we went inside and Bill introduced me to Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore. They was cutting ''Good Rockin' Tonight''. I sat up in the control room and Sam had both hands up in the air saying 'This Is It'! Sam would play back the tape and Elvis would say, 'What do you think, Mr Phillips\ ? Sam would say, 'It sounds good. You just got to work on this and that...'. Now you've gotta remember that I was hooked on Hank Williams. I didn't like it at the beginning but even before the end of the session it was starting to hit me I'd played a little around Tupelo. We'd go down by a creek or river and have a weenie roast. We'd sing and play - all acoustic, of course. I listened to Presley and I thought, 'Hell'!! He ain't doing anything I can't do.

SEPTEMBER 1954

The Perkins Brothers Band drives in from the Bemis/Jackson area of Tennessee where Carl Perkins has been pioneering the rockabilly style of guitar. They gain the first of several audition sessions which will lead to a contract with Sam Phillips' Flip and Sun labels. The contract is signed on October 24, 1954. Carl Perkins was originally from Lake County, Tennessee, in the northwest corner of the state, on the Mississippi banks, but his family had moved to the Jackson area after the war, where he and his brothers, jay and Clayton, formed a band. He was twenty-two-years old and had been working as a baker in Jackson before he quit to play the honky-tonks full-time. Then one day his wife, Valda, heard ''That's All Right'' on the radio. ''That sounds a lot like you, Carl'', she said. And that was what had given him the idea.

The band arrived in a 1941 Plymouth, with the bass tied on top covered by a nine-foot cotten sack. Sam Phillips wasn't there when the band arrived, but Marion Keisker showed no interest whatsoever, according to Carl's recollection, in either his talent or his potential. ''We've got this new boy, Elvis Presley'', she told Carl, and they weren't listening to anybody else. When Carl told her sounded something like Elvis, she said that wasn't going to do him any good, they didn't need anyone else that sounded like Elvis Presley just now.

It was at this point in Carl's account that Sam showed up. Bear in mind that Sam was still driving the same black 1951 Cadillac that he had purchased just one year earlier, but Carl's version lends all the more piquancy to the story of someone who had grown up even poorer than Elvis and would always be certain that Marion Keisker looked down upon him because of his need.

''I took my hat and started out the front door'', Carl said. ''As I did, there was a 1954 Coupe de Ville Cadillac almost took the front bumper off my old Plymouth. A man got out dressed just like the car. He had on a light blue pair of trousers and a dark blue coat. I thought to myself, 'That's either that Presley boy, or that's the man that owns this place. I said, ''Are you Mr. Phillips''? He said, 'Yes''. I said, 'My name's Carl Perkins, and that's my brothers sitting there in the car, and we come down to pick for you'. He said, 'I ain't got time'. I said, 'Mr. Phillips, please. Just one song. Will you''? I guess I said it just that hurt. He said, 'Okay, get set up. But I can't listen long'. We was set up and picking before he could get back to the control room. Afterwards he told me, 'I couldn't say no. Never have I seen a pitifuller-looking fellow as you looked when I said, 'I'm too busy to listen to you'. You overpowered me'. I said, 'I didn't mean to, but I'm glad I did'''. That was the beginning right there.

Around this time, Johnny Cash telephones Sam Phillips to enquire about recording gospel music. He is told to come into the studio with country material only.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE PRISONAIRES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE SEPTEMBER 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "TWO STRANGERS" - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Robert Riley
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-132 - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954 - Scheduled for release
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523 AH-20 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

A alternate version of ''Two Strangers'', a song that Sam Phillips planned to release as a fifth single on Sun, but shelved in October 1954 under the weight of his new workload promoting Elvis Presley's first two discs was a really strong ballad, written by Robert Riley and sympathetically sung by Bragg and the group.

01(2) - ''TWO STRANGERS'' - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Robert Riley
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-27 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - BABY PLEASE

02 - "WHAT ABOUT FRANK CLEMENT (A MIGHTY MAN)" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30104 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 4 - COTTON CITY COUNTRY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523 AH-21 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

03 - "FRIENDS CALL ME A FOOL" - B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Johnny Bragg-Robert Riley
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-133 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954 - Scheduled for release
Released: - Sun Unissued - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523 AH-22 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

The Prisonaires only recorded one version of ''Lucy, You Know Want You'' but it has never before been issued with its correct title. It is a rocking little number driven ahead by bass, guitar and drums and the vocalists leave us in no doubt what they want from Miss Lucy. At some point after this song was recorded it catalogued as a song about a woman named ''Lucille'' and it was issued as such on compilation LPs twenty years later. Johnny Bragg even copyrighted it using the title under which it had been released. But the group is clearly singing about someone called ''Lucy'', not ''Lucille''. To sing a song, that might have been released, full of lustful yearning about ''Lucille'', which happened to be the name of the wife of the Governor, would not have been a smart move for any prisoner let alone a group of singers who owed so much of their lifestyle to her and her husband.

No such restraints applied to the writer from 'People' magazine of 27 August 1956 who said: "After the huzzas and groans of the Democratic Convention in Chicago died away, there was almost unanimous agreement that the Democrats' choicest doll is Lucille Clement, wife of Tennessee's give-em-ellfire Governor Frank G. Clement, the convention's bombastic keynoter. Mother of three boys, Lucille, 36, whose figure is one of modern politics' most attractive gerrymanders, took time out to model some cute creations for a Hearst lensman''.

04 – "LUCY, YOU KNOW I WANT YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Probably Johnny Bragg
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30104 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 4 - COTTON CITY COUNTRY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523 AH-23 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

A fifth single, comprising "Friend Call Me A Fool" and "Two Strangers", was scheduled for release in the Fall of 1954, but was never shipped.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
Possible John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Steward - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Possible Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal and Lead Tenor Vocal
L.B. McCollough - Electric Guitar
Hubbard Brown - Drums
Henry "Dish Rag" Jones - Piano
George Williams – Trumpet

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 - ©

SEPTEMBER 1, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Kitty Wells recorded ''I'm In Love With You'', ''Lonely Side Of Town'' and the Don Everly-penned ''Thou Shalt Not Steal'' at the Castle Studio in downtown Nashville.

Johnnie and Jack recorded ''Kiss Crazy Baby'' and ''Beware Of It'' at the Castle Recording Studio in downtown Nashville.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1954 THURSDAY

Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West recorded ''Stratosphere Boogie'' at the Capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

SEPTEMBER 3, 1954 FRIDAY

RCA released Porter Wagoner's first charted single, ''Company's Comin'''.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1954 SATURDAY

In the wake of Elvis Presley's recording of ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', Bill Monroe recorded a newer, hotter version of his signature song in Nashville.

SEPTEMBER 5, 1954 SUNDAY

Carl Smith recorded ''Loose Talk'' at Nashville's Castle Studio in the Tulane Hotel.

SEPTEMBER 6, 1954 MONDAY

Decca released Ernest Tubb's ''Two Glasses, Joe''.

SEPTEMBER 7, 1954 TUESDAY

Keyboard player Benmont Tench is born in Gainesville, Florida. A member of Tom Petty's band, The Heartbreakers, he writes Rosanne Cash's ''Never Be You'' and Hal Ketchum's ''Stay Forever'', and plays on country recordings by Travis Tritt, Johnny Cash and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Singer/songwriter Craig Bickhardt is born in Pennsylvania. He replaces Paul Overstreet in Schuyler, Knobloch and Overstreet in 1987, but also writes Pam Tills' ''In Between Dances'', The Judds' ''Turn It Loose'' and Kathy Mattea's ''You're The Power''.

SEPTEMBER 9, 1954 THURSDAY

RCA declines to re-sign Porter Wagoner, though he manages to nab a hit single for the label within a month.

Elvis Presley performs for the grand opening of Katz Drug Store on Lamar Avenue in Memphis. The show is witnessed by Johnny Cash, who meets his future Sun labelmate for the first time, and Johnny was knocked out not just by the music but by the galvanizing force that could come from a simple trio format, he even got to meet Elvis afterward and was impressed by his enthusiasm, conviction, and polite demeanor. But what motivated him most of all, as it happened, was rejection, as he stopped by again and again and was rebuffed each time without getting so much as a perfunctory audition.

SEPTEMBER 10, 1954 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley starts recording sessions that yield ''Good Rockin' Tonight'' and ''I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'' at Memphis' Sun Recording Studio.

Webb Pierce tries his hand at Jimmie Rodgers' ''In The Jailhouse Now'' during a session at the Castle Studio in Nashville. Unhappy with the result, he recorded the final version a dozen weeks later.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1954 SATURDAY

Porter Wagoner recorded ''A Satisfied Mind'' and ''Eat, Drink And Be Merry (Tomorrow You'll Cry)'' at the KWTO Radio studio in Springfield, Missouri, at a cost of $40, two days after RCA let his contract lapse.

SEPTEMBER 12, 1954 SUNDAY

''The Kollege Of Musical Knowlege'' airs for the final time on NBC-TV, with Tennessee Ernie Ford hosting the game show.
''Lassie'' is broadcast for the first time and is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie dog named Lassie and her companions, both human and animal. The show was the creation of producer Robert Maxwell and animal trainer Rudd Weatherwax and was televised from September 12, 1954, to March 25, 1973. The fourth longest-running U.S. Primetime television series after The Simpsons, and Law and Order, the show chalked up 17 seasons on CBS before entering first-run syndication for its final two seasons. Initially filmed in black and white, the show transitioned to color in 1965.

The show's first 10 seasons follow Lassie's adventures in a small farming Community. Fictional eleven-year-old Jeff Miller, his mother, and his grandfather are Lassie's first human companions until seven-year-old Timmy Martin and his adoptive parents take over in the fourth season. When Lassie's exploits on the farm end in the eleventh season, she finds new adventures in the wilderness alongside United States Service Rangers. After traveling on her own for a year, Lassie finally settles at a children's home for her final two syndicated seasons.

Lassie received critical favor at its debut and won two Emmy Awards in its first years. Stars Jan Clayton and June Lockhart were nominated for Emmys. Merchandise produced during the show's run included books, a Halloween costume, clothing, toys, and other items. Campbell's Soup, the show's lifelong sponsor, offered two premiums (a ring and a wallet), and distributed thousands to fans. A multi-part episode was edited into the feature film Lassie's Great Adventure and released in August 1963. Selected episodes have been released to DVD.

SEPTEMBER 13, 1954 MONDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Christmas Can't Be Far Away'' at the RCA Victor Studios in New York City.

Columbia released Ray Price and His Cherokee Cowboys' single ''If You Don't, Somebody Else Will'', and Hank Thompson's ''The New Green Light''.

SEPTEMBER 14, 1954 TUESDAY

George Jones marries his second wife, Shirley Ann Corley in Houston.

Barry Cowsill, of the pop group The Cowsills, is born in Newport, Rhode Island. The group scores hits with ''The Rain, The Park And Other Things'', ''Hair'' and ''Indian Lake'', which is remade several years laster as a country hit by Freddy Weller.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''I've Been Thinking'' and ''Don't Forget'' at the RCA Studios in New York City.

SEPTEMBER 16, 1954 THURSDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Two Kinds Of Love'' and ''In Time'' at RCA's New York studios.

A confused Woody Guthrie checks into Brooklyn State Hospital in New York voluntarily. Guthrie has been suffering for several years from Huntington's chorea, a rare neurological disease.

SEPTEMBER 20, 1954 MONDAY

Columbia released Carl Smith's double-sided single, ''Loose Talk'' backed with ''More Than Anything Else In The World''.

Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow and Roy Acuff perform a three-hour show in Montgomery, Alabama, as the city spends the weekend saluting the late Hank Williams.

SEPTEMBER 21, 1954 TUESDAY

A 10-foot marble memorial is unveiled at the gravesite of Hank Williams in Montgomery, Alabama, following a parade in the late star's honor that draws 60,000 people. The marker bears the inscription ''I Saw The Light''.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Sun Records released Elvis Presley's ''Good Rockin' Tonight'' (Sun 210), a number-one 1948 rhythm and blues hit by leather-lunged blues shouter Wynonie Harris, backed with a casually delivered, Dean Martin-styled version of ''I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'', a number originally written for the 1950 Disney animated feature ''Cinderella''.

SEPTEMBER 26, 1954 SUNDAY

Glendale, Arizona, mayor H.L. Schrey declares Marty Robbins Day.

Guitarist Cesar Rosas is born in Hermosillo, Mexico. He joins the Los Angeles band Los Lobos, whose ''Will The Wolf Survive'' is ranked among the 500 greatest country singles in the Country Music Foundation's book ''Heartaches By The Number''.

John Mattea marries Ruth Ann Cappellanti is St. Augustine, West Virginia. The union produces a future country star, Kathy Mattea.

SEPTEMBER 27, 1954 MONDAY

Capitol Records breaks ground in Hollywood for its new tower, the first round office building in the world. The Capitol Recording Studios will also be the site for sessions by Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, Buck Owens, Dwight Yoakam and Taylor Swift.

''The Tonight Show'' premieres on NBC. Originally called ''Tonight'', it's first hosted by Steve Allen, some four years after the comedian wrote a country crossover hit, ''Let's Go Church (Next Sunday Morning)'' by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely.

SEPTEMBER 29, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Kitty Wells and Red Foley recorded the Roy Acuff-penned ''As Long As I Live'', ''No One But You'', ''Make Believe ('Til We Can Make It Come True)'' and ''You And Me'' during an evening session at the KWTO Studio in Springfield, Missouri.

Songwriter Nancy Montgomery is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She pens Eddy Raven's ''I Wanna Hear It From You'', The McCarters' ''The Gift'' and Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White's ''Love Can't Ever Get Better Than This''.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1954 THURSDAY

Patsy Cline signs her first recording contract with Bill McCall, of Four Star Records.

Anita Wood was the grand winner in the 1954 Youth Talent contest at the Mid-South Fair in Memphis, Tennessee on September 30. She was also first alternate to the Fairest of the Fair in 1956.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©