CONTAINS
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1954 SESSIONS 2
February 1, 1954 to February 28, 1954

Studio Session for The Prisonaires, February 2, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Luke McDaniel, February 24, 1954 / King Records

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

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EARLY 1954

Pee Wee Maddux took future Sun artist Ernie Chaffin to Nashville with the clear intention of getting him a record deal and a spot on the Grand Ole Opry. If Ernie, himself, had any doubts, Pee Wee didn't share them. He made an appointment with Opry boss Jim Denny for the initial round of screening. Ernie passed the test and went on to meet with Paul Cohen, head of Decca's Nashville division.

Cohen was suitably impressed and offered Ernie a longterm deal with the label. For whatever reason, Ernie wanted no part of it. He made that abundantly clear, leaving Maddux shocked and embarrassed. Paul Cohen's state can only be imagined. Maddux had set very high goals for himself and his star-in-waiting artist, and he had, agains't all odds, achieved what he came to Nashville for. The one thing he hadn't counted on was the stubborn streak that ran through his artist like a four lane highway. Ernie obviously didn't like Paul Cohen or his style. To hell with the Opry.

To hell with Decca records. He'd be just as happy playing the local clubs on the Mississippi coast, mingling with folks he liked and felt comfortable with. Someone else could deal with the Nashville establishment and the gruff style of Paul Cohen and his long-term contract.

FEBRUARY 1, 1954 MONDAY

Guitarist Mike Campbell is born in Panama City, Florida. A member of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, he appears on Johnny Cash's ''Hurt''.

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

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY FEBRUARY 2, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523-14 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

Sam Phillips certainly brought an idiosyncratic approach to recording vocal group. It was one style for which he had little feeling, possibly accounting for some of the incongruous, if pleasant results. This may be the finest unreleased track the Prisonaires left behind at Sun. ''Don't Say Tomorrow'' is a lovely, melodic performance with strong harmony and driving rhythm. Basser Marcell Sanders is the standout performer here, although everyone was in fine shape. One can only guess at the joyous sounds that flowed from the car as the Prisonaires and their guard drove back to the Nashville pen after the session in Phillips' studio. If this track had been recorded in New York the simple acoustic guitar would probably have been replaced by a riffing sax section and some piano boogie. As it is, the sound owes more to earlier quartet styles than the uptown sound of the Drifters or the Clovers. ''Don't Say Tomorrow'' is a little masterpiece caught out of time. The song was composed in 1953 by Robert Riley, but not registered with BMI until 1957 when Riley pitched it to the Hollyhocks on Excello's teen-slanted labels, Nasco.

02 - "DON'T SAY TOMORROW" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Robert Riley
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 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 15523-15 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

03 - "NO MORE TEARS" - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Johnny Bragg
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Record (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523-16 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

Name. (Or. No. of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Steward - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal

For Biography of The Prisonaires see: > The Sun Biographies <
The Prisonaires' Sun recordings can be heard on the their playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

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FEBRUARY 1954

Jim Bulleit informed Sam Phillips that some months earlier in November 1953, Jud Phillips purchases Jim Bulleit's interest in Sun Records and sets up a new distribution system unrelated to Bulleit's Delta and J-B labels as an inducement to sell his shares, an important point of information now that he was thinking of selling his publishing company.

Jud adamantly denied having said any such thing, and there was a brief, angry flurry of correspondence in which Sam set the uncompromising tone. ''Now if you want to.. call in your lawyer, if you can get one to take the case, then I'm ready. Or if you want to live up to your obligation and not try to railroad another one of your stunts over on somebody then we will sit down and settle up. But get this, buddy... I'll stake my reputation with yours any day of the week and will be glad at any time to do it''. That seemed to do the trick, as Jim swiftly capitulated and transferred all of the Sun material, as they had originally agreed, to Sam's newly Sun registers the Hi-Lo Publishing Company with B.M.I., to publish Sun copyrights.

Sam Phillips pays Leonard Chess two checks totalling $1500, probably a repayment of a personal loan to Phillips after the ''Bear Cat'' judgment went against him.

Country recording artist Hardrock Gunter is put in touch with Sam Phillips when working with Phillips' brother-in-law, Jim Connally, at radio WJLD in Birmingham, Alabama. Unable to spare the time to get to Memphis, Gunter record two songs locally and ships them to Phillips for release on Sun. The titles are "Gonna Dance All Night" and "Fallen Angel", performed in a western-swing style. The A side has rock and roll overtones in the Bill Haley mould.

Jud Phillips borrowed $1200 and bought Jim Bulleit out. Sun was now free from outside interference, and Sam Phillips could negotiate his own business deals. This was an important turning point for Phillips. During the year, Sam frantically recorded numerous black acts. Jud Phillips helped sell the product by making a deal with a Shreveport, Louisiana, distributor, Stan Lewis, who agreed to get Sun Records played on local radio.

Sam Phillips' files show he was continuing to do custom mastering work for other labels, including for Johnny Vincent for Specialty Records, and for Meteor Records, and he cast about for any and every way that he could think of to improve his situation. He came up with the idea of a management company that would provide representation for each of the artists he had under contract, calling for a 5 percent commission on gross earnings. It was to be called the Exclusive Booking Agency, and he signed all of his new artists to it. But in the end, like all the other moneymaking schemes he had come up with in the past for which he seemed to have little heart, Sam never put this plan into practice.

FEBRUARY 5, 1954

There was no money in the till. Marion Keisker had gone back to supplementing petty cash with money from her salary as assistant program director at WREC. When Jud Phillips' wife, Dean, wrote to Sam Phillips on this day requesting $300 to settle what was owed, Sam replied to his brother, ''Right now we do not have that much in the bank, but.. I'm sure we will have a check from somebody before the week is gone''. Leonard Chess had come in, he wrote, ''and I paid that off... and a lot of other things have hit us pretty hard, but I will send, the money, the minute we get it''.

FEBRUARY 10, 1954 WEDNESDAY

''Phantom Stallion'' debuts in theaters, with Rex Allen and Slim Pickens starring. It's considered the last of the singing-cowboy westerns.

FEBRUARY 14, 1954 SUNDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young'' at Thomas Production Studio in Nashville. Faron Young cuts the definitive version 11 months later.

FEBRUARY 15, 1954 MONDAY

Sam Phillips was on the road for almost the entire month of February, putting over five thousand miles on the black 1951 Cadillac four-door he had bought a few months earlier with a down payment of $750 for just this purpose. If his brother Jud had continued to be involved, he might have been better able to focus on what really mattered most, making records (Sam was unable to schedule a session for the next two weeks, he wrote to Jud on February 15, because of the constant travel), and some of Knox's and Jerry's most vivid early memories of their father, they were now eight and five respectively, were of going to the pressing plant with him on the weekend and helping him load up the trunk of his car with records. Sometimes that was the most they got to see of him, as he set out on his latest sales and promotion trip through Louisiana, Texas, and up into Oklahoma, before Sam could turn around, come back home, and start all over again.

FEBRUARY 17, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Terry Fell recorded ''Don't Drop It'' at the RCA Studios in Hollywood. The session also yields ''Truck Driving Man'', a song that George Hamilton IV covers a decade later.

FEBRUARY 18, 1954 THURSDAY

Actor John Travolta is born in Englewood, New Jersey. After starring in ''Saturday Night Fever'' and ''Grease'' he becomes a focal point of the trend toward country music and fashion during the 1980s, thanks to his role in the movie ''Urban Cowboy''.

FEBRUARY 19, 1954 FRIDAY

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (blues-singer Nina Simone) Recital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at New Center Auditorium.

FEBRUARY 20, 1954 SATURDAY

Eddy Arnold is a special guest on NBC-TV's ''The Spike Jones Show''

Bluegrass performer Claire Lynch is born in Poughkeepsie, New York. The plaintive singer begins her career with The Front Porch String Band, earning Grammy nominations with two solo albums, ''Moonlighter'' and ''Silver And Gold''.

FEBRUARY 20, 1953 SATURDAY

Sun 195 ''No Teasing Around'' b/w ''Somebody Told Me'' by Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson another Ike Turner discovery, a singer and pianist from Florida with a flair for highly crafted, quirky, and idiosyncratic songwriting in the blues vein. Sun 196 ''Wolf Call Boogie'' b/w ''Harmonica Jam'' by ''Hot Shot'' Love also are issued from this hard-blowing local harmonica player and sign painter (he advertised both his sign painting and his distinctive philosophy on the back of his bicycle as he rode all around the streets of South Memphis.

Earl Peterson's "Boogie Blues" b/w ''In The Dark'' (Sun 197) is released at about this time, the first inaugural contemporary country single on Sun. Earl was a twenty-six-year-old country disc jockey from Michigan, who showed up at the studio for an audition with his mother and billed himself as ''Michigan Singing Cowboy''. The B-side was a smoothly sung ballad referencing Hank Williams and put across with a good deal of warmth. The featured number, ''Boogie Blues'', with which Peterson had auditioned, was a cheerful hillbilly boogie update along the lines of Hawkshaw Hawkins, but with allusions to some of Bill Monroe's more extravagant bluegrass yodeling numbers.

The second was deep-seated country gospel labeled as Sun 198 "Troublesome Waters" b/w ''I Must Be Saved'' by Howard Seratt, the Arkansas singer Sam Phillips had carried over to Nashville to help persuade Governor Clement to let him sign the Prisonaires. Seratt, whom Sam considered to be one of the most beautiful singers he had ever heard, accompanied himself on guitar and harmonica. When he had first come to the studio the previous year early 1953 , to cut some sides for his manager's custom label (St. Francis), Sam was well aware that his music didn't have a chance in the pop market, but he couldn't restrain himself from recording Seratt again (late 1953), and this time putting the record out on his own Sun label. Maybe in the back of his mind he was still hoping to convert Seratt to a more secular approach, but he knew that was a pipe dream. Seratt had made himself very clear, and in the end Sam Phillips wouldn't have wanted to change his mind anyway. But there was something haunting about the music, something about the pure spirituality and honesty of the singer's voice that failed to lead anywhere except to reinforce Sam's conviction that music like this needed to be preserved, that someday music like this, presented properly, could reach an audience that, even if it didn't know it, might just be hungering for something more. Neither disc is successful commercially but they represent an increasing commitment to country music on the part of Sun Records.

FEBRUARY 21, 1954 SUNDAY

Johnnie & Jack recorded ''(Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely''.

Keyboard player Billy Earhart is born in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He joins The Amazing Rhythm Aces, appearing on all three of their hits, ''Third Rate Romance'', ''Amazing Grace (Used To Be Her Favorite Song);; and Grammy-winner ''The End Is Not In Sight''.

(Above) The New Alcazar Hotel, located at 127 Third Street, Clarksdale, Mississippi, was built in 1915. The building was designed by Charles O. Pfeil in a Classical Revival style. In earlier years the hotel also was the host to the local radio station WROX, a station where many blues artist got their start.

While WROX was located at the Alcazar a young boy, Ike Turner, was the elevator operator. He became fascinated by the operation of the radio station and soon at the the age of eight, he began to spin records for the station. This early exposure was Ike Turner's start in his music career. The building is mostly vacant now with some businesses on the first floor.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR EUGENE FOX & ANNIE MAE WILSON
FOR CHECKER/RPM RECORDS 1954

RADIO WROX RADIO STATION, THE ALCAZAR HOTEL
127 THIRDS STREET, CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI
CHECKER/RPM SESSION: MONDAY FEBRUARY 22, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER

Back in is home-town Clarksdale and at the WROX radio station in the Alcazar Hotel, where as a boy he had operated the lift and helped the disc jockeys spin discs in his spare time, Ike Turner cut a totally bizarre session with his saxophone player Eugene Fox. The recordings were made after midnight when the broadcasting ceased and the midnight hour was quite appropriate for these weird waxing. Ike had attempted to record ''The Dream'' b/w ''Sinner's Dream'' earlier at Sun with Johnny O'Neal as ''Johnny's Dream'' but the record, recorded on August 2, 1953, remained unissued until the 1970s.

In ''The Dream'' gravel voiced Fox takes the lead role, and Ike's new wife, Annie Mae Wilson supports, in a tale of ''slippin'''around and retribution when, Sambo, the dead husband of Fox's girl comes back to haunt him as he sleeps in her bed in a drunken stupor. The dream is so real that when Fox wakes up he grabs his hat and runs.

''Sinner's Dream'' is more of the same but this time but this time Fox is led by ''Mr Death'' down to hell to meet ''Mr Devil''. ''Don't push me in that fire''! he pleads. Throughout both epics, Ike's guitar shivers and quivers creating a suitably unearthly feel.

The ''straight'' cut of the session, ''Stay At Home'' is based on the Drifters' ''Money Honey'' on which Ike plays a killer solo. In later life Eugene Fox gave up music and became the principal of Coahoma Agricultural High School and was somewhat embarrassed about these crazy recordings.

01 - ''STAY AT HOME''** - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Eugene Fox
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 7606
Recorded: - February 22, 1954
Released: 1954
First appearance: - Checker Records (S) 78rpm Checker 792 mono
STAY AT HOME / SINNER'S DREAM
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-3-1 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 - ''SINNER'S DREAM''* - B.M.I. - 3:26
Composer: - Friskillo
Publisher: - Tristian Music
Matrix number: - U 7607
Recorded: - February 22, 1954
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Checker Records (S) 78rpm Checker 792 mono
SINNER'S DREAM / STAY AT HOME
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-3-2 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

03 - ''THE DREAM (PART 1 & 2)''* - B.M.I. - 4:12
Composer: Eugene Fox
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishers
Matrix number: - Part 1 MM 2133 / Part 2 MM 2134
Recorded: - February 22, 1954
Released: - 1955
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 420-A-B mono
THE DREAM (PART 1) / THE DREAM (PART 2)
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-3-4 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Eugene Fox - Vocal
Ike Turner - Guitar
Annie Mae Wilson - Vocal * & Piano **
Or Dennis Binder - Vocal *
Possibly Raymond Hill - Tenor Saxophone **
Jesse Knight Jr. - Electric Bass **
Possibly C.V. Veal - Drums / Sound Effects *

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR LUKE MCDANIEL
FOR KING RECORDS 1954

RADIO KWKH STUDIO, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
KING SESSION: WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 24, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BERNIE PERLMAN
AND/OR TOM JACKSON

01 - ''I CAN'T STEAL ANOTHER'S BRIDE'' - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3766
Recorded: - February 24, 1954
Released: - April 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1338-A mono
I CAN'T STEAL ANOTHER'S BRIDE / THE AUTOMOBILE SONG

02 - ''HONEY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME'' - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3767
Recorded: - February 24, 1954
Released: - June 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1356-A mono
HONEY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME / CRYING MY HEART OUT FOR YOU
Reissued - 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper Time STCD 24-9 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL - MISSISSIPPI HONKY HONK ROCKABILLY MAN

03 - ''THE AUTOMOBILE SONG'' - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3768
Recorded: - February 24, 1954
Released: - April 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1338-B mono
THE AUTOMOBILE SONG / I CAN'T STEAL ANOTHER'S BRIDE
Reissued - 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper Time STCD 24-9 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL - MISSISSIPPI HONKY HONK ROCKABILLY MAN

04 - ''CRYING MY HEART OUT FOR YOU'' - B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3769
Recorded: - February 24, 1954
Released: - June 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1356-B mono
CRYING MY HEART OUT FOR YOU / HONEY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME
Reissued - 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper Time STCD 24-9 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL - MISSISSIPPI HONKY HONK ROCKABILLY MAN

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Luke McDaniel - Vocal & Guitar
Unknown Musicians
Johnny Horton and Jack Cardwell
were present at this session and may have played acoustic guitar.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

FEBRUARY 23, 1954 THUESDAY

Webb Pierce and The Wilburn Brothers recorded ''Sparkling Brown Eyes'' in Nashville at the Castle Studio.

Wesley and Marilyn Tutlle recorded ''Never''.

FEBRUARY 25, 1954 THURSDAY

Bass player John Doe is born in Decatur, Illinois. A co-founder of the Los Angeles punk group X, he writes a Kelly Willis song on the soundtrack of ''Thelma and Louise'' and has acting roles in ''Pure Country'' and ''Great Balls Of Fire''.

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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 - ©