CONTAINS
For music (standard singles) and playlists on YouTube click on the available > buttons <
> Back 1955 Sun Schedule <

1955 SESSIONS (12)
December 1 , 1955 to December 31, 1955

Studio Session for Carl Perkins, December 19, 1955 (1) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, December 19, 1955 (2) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Charlie Feathers, Probably 1955 or 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Dotty Abbott, Late 1955 or Early 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Sterling Sisters, Probably Mid 1950s / Sun Records
Live Broadcast Recording for Johnny Cash, December 1955 / KWEM Radio
Studio Session for Roy Orbison, 1955 / Columbia Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, Late 1955 or Early 1956 / KWEM Radio
Demo Session for Barbara Pittman, Probably End 1955 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Luke McDaniel, 1955 / Meladee Records
Studio Session for Doctor Ross, Probably 1955/1958 / Dir Records 

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

DECEMBER 1955

"How Long" b/w ''Daydreams Come True'' (Sun 229) by Maggie Sue Wimberly and gets a Billboard review spotlite.

EARLY DECEMBER 1955

Perkins and his brothers have worked up the new song to the point where they feel comfortable auditioning it for Sam Phillips. For his part, Phillips is unsure about the future of "hillbilly bop" music, but now that Presley has departed, he is willing to let Perkins experiment in the new style.

Perkins runs through the song for Phillips in the studio. Phillips commits three cuts to tape. On the first take, Perkins sings " . . . three to get ready, now go boy go!" Phillips suggests that Perkins change it to "go cat go!" They also change "drink my corn" to drink my liquor" as the song is gradually eased uptown.

Three other songs are recorded at the same time: "Sure To Fall" (with Jay taking the lead), "Tennessee" (with Jay joining Carl on the chorus), and "Honey, Don't."

After the sale of Presley's contract, Phillips was free to pay off business debts and devote time and money to production and promotion. In December of 1955, Carl Perkins recorded his ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and Phillips released it in January.

DECEMBER 1, 1955 THURSDAY

Roy Hall was back in the Owen Bradley studios with the same A-list musicians and another three songs he and Cohen were convinced could make it. It is likely that ''Christine'' was Hall's signature tune from this session although in fact it was not issued at the time. It may well have been autobiographical because Hall mentioned the name Christine in an interview to Martin Hawkins at one point when talking about his wife. It is his account of a night in the Davidson County Jail, on Sixth and Main in Nashville, and his pleas for Christine to come back to him.

Hall may have argued with Decca about the song not coming out because he apparently arranged, produced, and paid for a different recording of the song to be issued the following year on the small Rhythm & Range label. The recording was by saxophonist Hank Crawford, recording under the name Little Hank and the Rhythm Kings. Crawford was leading a band at the Subway Lounge in the centre of Nashville and it may be that Hall had been impressed with his band if he saw them plating there. Crawford went on to lead Ray Charles' band a few years later.

Eddy Arnold recorded ''You Don't Know Me'' at New York's Webster Hall.

DECEMBER 1, 1955

African-American Rosa Parks (42) refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger on December 1, 1955. Parks is arrested (above) for violation Alabama segregation laws by refusing to follow orders from the bus driver. Parks becomes a figurehead for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Civil Rights Movement due to her image as a respected member of the community and her involvement with the NAACP. The Montgomery Bus Boycott by African-American citizens began in December of 1955 after Parks is convicted. The boycott is led by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. A landmark moment in the civil rights movement, the act is referenced in Brad Paisley's 2009 country hit ''Welcome To The Future''. Rosa Parks died of natural causes on October 24, 2005, at the age of 92, in her apartment on the east of Detroit, Michigan.

DECEMBER 4, 1955 SUNDAY

Drummer Brian Prout is born in Troy, New York. He joins Diamond Rio, whose ace musicianship and strong harmonies lead to numerous Vocal Group of the Year awards and a bevy of hits during the 1990s and early 2000s.

DECEMBER 5, 1955 MONDAY

Decca released Red Sovine and Webb Pierce's duet version of George Jones' song ''Why Baby Why''.

DECEMBER 6, 1955 TUESDAY

Bill Lloyd is born in Fort Hood, Texas. Teamed with Rodney Foster, the duo Foster and Lloyd becomes a major proponent in the late 1980s of rockabilly-tinged country, netting hits with ''Sure Thing'' and ''Crazy Over You'' before their 1991 split.

DECEMBER 7, 1955 WEDNESDAY

The Victor Mature movie ''The Last Frontier'' premieres in New York City, with Rusty Draper singing picture's title song.

DECEMBER 8, 1955 THURSDAY

Bass player Nathan East is born in Philadelphia. He appears on pop and rhythm and blues hits by the likes of Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Whitney Houston, as well as the Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton country hit, ''We've Got Tonight''.

DECEMBER 10, 1955 SATURDAY

Johnny Cash makes his debut on The Louisiana Hayride, singing ''Hey Porter'' and ''Luther Played The Boogie''.

DECEMBER 12, 1955 MONDAY

Decca released Charlie Walker's first charted hit, ''Only You, Only You''.

''See You Later Alligator'' is recorded by Bill Haley and the Comets at Decca Records studios, New York.

United Artists withdraws from membership of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is protest at the refusal of a classification certificate for Otto Preminger’s film The Man With the Golden Arm.

ABC Television, newly awarded an ITV franchise, buys Teddington Studios for its film and live television drama productions.

RCA tests its fixed-head videotape recorder at NBC. Tape speed is reduced from 360 ips to 240 ips to give a longer recording time.

Les Paul makes a disc of ''How High The Moon''/''The World Is Waiting'' for the Sunrise with each song on a separate concentric spiral groove on the same side of the record, reviving an idea first used in 1898 and which had also been employed for Puzzle Records in the early 1930s.

DECEMBER 13, 1955 TUESDAY

Hank Snow recorded ''These Hands''.

Johnny Cash joins Carl Perkins for a show in Amory, Mississippi. He suggests that Carl write a song based on a saying he had heard in the chow line while he was in the service, "Don't step on my blue suede shoes''.

A few nights later Perkins is playing in Jackson, Tennessee, when he sees a dancer in the crowd trying to keep his girlfriend away from his new blue suede shoes. It connects with the idea that Cash had given him. At three o'clock the following morning, Perkins awakens with the genesis of the song in his head. He goes downstairs and writes out the lyrics in pencil on an empty potato bag. Suede is spelled swaed.

DECEMBER 14, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Frank Sinatra sends a telegram to Tennessee Ernie Ford. congratulation him on ''Sixteen Tons'', ''It's a gasser''.

DECEMBER 15, 1955 THURSDAY

Johnny Cash's (Sun 232) ''Folsom Prison Blues'' b/w ''So Doggone Lonesome'' is issued, and Phillips places trade paper advertisements billing Sun as ''America's No. 1 Country Label''.

Randy Parton is born in Sevierville, Tennessee. The younger brother of Dolly and Stella Parton, he performs one song on the 1984 soundtrack to ''Rhinestone''.

Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins play the Catholic Club in Helena, Arkansas. In the audience is Levon Helm, destined to play drums with The Band.

DECEMBER 16, 1955 FRIDAY

Webb Pierce recorded ''Cause I Love You'' and a duet with Red Sovine, ''Little Rosa'' in Nashville's Bradley Recording Studio.

DECEMBER 17, 1955 SATURDAY

Kitty Wells recorded ''Searching (For Someone Like You)'', plus a duet with daughter Carol Sue, ''How Far Is Heaven'' at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville.

Tennessee Ernie Ford's ''Sixteen Tons'' works its way up to number 1 on the Billboard country singles chart.

Carl Perkins called Sam Phillips at the studio. He told Sam he had just written a song called ''Blue Suede Shoes''. Was it anything like the old spiritual ''O Dem Golden Slippers''? Sam said jokingly, but then Carl sang him the song, and he knew right away. It was somewhere between a novelty number and a lighthearted declaration of independence, with the lyrics suggesting in nursery-song rhymes that the unnamed object of desire, the world, in fact, could inflict any humiliation that it wanted on the singer (''You can burn my house / Steal my car / Drink my liquor from an old fruit jar'') just so long as you, singular or plural (and this was the exuberant refrain of the song), ''Don't step on my blue suede shoes''. Sam didn't hesitate for even a second. If the boy could put it across with that much flair on the telephone, they needed set up a session right away.

DECEMBER 19, 1955 MONDAY

Carl Perkins recorded his first million-seller ''Blue Suede Shoes'' at the Sun Recording Studio on 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Stanley Brothers recorded ''Angel Band'' at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville. The performance is ranked among country's 500 greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation's 2003 book ''Heartaches By The Number''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CARL PERKINS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1955

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY DECEMBER 19, 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Session filed and mastered December 19, 1955

Carl Perkins and his brothers have worked up new songs to the point where they feel comfortable auditioned it for Sam Phillips. For his part, Phillips is unsure about the future of "hillbilly bop" music, but now that Elvis Presley has departed, he is willing to let Carl Perkins experiment in the new style. Carl Perkins runs through the songs for Phillips in the studio.

"Blue Suede Shoes" was the first true rock and roll hit in the sense of an 'all market' hit. Some rhythm and blues hits had sold well in the pop market (most notably Chuck Berry's "Maybelline", which had even outsold the white cover versions); some country records had crossed over into the pop market, but there had never been a record that had sold well in all three markets.

It may be difficult to pinpoint where rock and roll began because of the inherent difficulty in pinpointing rock and roll itself. However, everyone is agreed that it incorporated elements of blues, country and pop music. "Blue Suede Shoes" was the first record to borrow from all three categories and become a hit in all three categories. That is Carl Perkins' achievement and it is worth a detailed look at exactly how it happened.

Sam Phillips commits three cuts ''Blue Suede Shoes'' to tape. On the first take on "Blue Suede Shoes", Perkins sings "... three to get ready, now go boy go!". Sam Phillips suggests that Perkins change it to "to cat go!". They also change "drink my corn" to "drink my liquor" as the song is gradually eased uptown. The second take is chosen for release.

01(1) - "BLUE SUEDE SHOES" - B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 101 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494-1-15 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

Without a doubt, this single record has done more than any other to spread the gospel of rockabilly and draw the wave of collectors to Sam and Sun. Subtract "Blue Suede Shoes" from the Sun catalogue, and there is no tellin how fundamental the changes might be. When this record hit, shock waves were felt all over.

Billboard reported "Difficults as the country field is for a newcomer to crack these days, Perkins has come up with some wax here that has hit the national retail chart in almost record time... Interestingly enough, the disk has a large measure of appeal for pop and rhythm and blues customers as well".

"Blue Suede Shoes" deserves its notoriety. Its impact is as direct today, nearly 40 years and millions of plays later. Perkins' vocal and guitar work are as energetic and full of goodnatured menace as the day they were conceived. To understand the importance of slap bass to rockabilly, try to imagine this record mixed differently, driven by drums and not the clicking of bass strings. It is entirely possibly the results and fortunes of "Blue Suede Shoes" would have been radically different.

01(2) - "BLUE SUEDE SHOES" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 176 Master Take 2
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 234-A < mono
BLUE SUEDE SHOES / HONEY DON'T!
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-1-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

''BLUE SUEDE SHOES''

Try to imagine what Carl's career would have been like without this song. It was only his third record and nobody expected anything this big. How could they? Sam had sold some records on Elvis, and on ''Bear Cat'' (Sun 181 ) but never like this. W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland reports, ''I've read lots of versions of how this song got written but I still has haven't seen the whole story''.

''Here's what happened Our band, Elvis band, Cash's band, all of us were touring together back 1955. It was through that agency Sam and Bob Neal had created called Stars Incorporated. We had two releases by then and we and the Cash band had become real close friends''.

''We were driving around, must have been around Fall of 1955, and Luther (Cash's guitar player), got into my car and I got into Cash's car with John and Marshall Grant, who's driving. Cash is sitting in the back seat behind me and Perkins is next to him.

John stretches his legs out and puts them on the back of the front seat where I'm sitting. John had gotten out of the Air Force about a year ago and for some reasons he's thinking about shoes. So he looks at his own feet and says, Carl, we ought to write a song about some shoes. A few minutes later he repeats it, only this time he says, 'some Blue Suede Shoes''.

''That's all there was to it. Now the trip's over and we're back home and playing in a little club out there called Tommy's Drive-In. There's no sound system or nothing like that. No stage, we're just in the corner. And this boy and girl dance by and the boy says to her, 'Don't step on my new shoes. He doesn't say nothin' about 'blue suede'. Just 'new'. I guess he had him some new shoes on when he said that. And Carl went home that night and the rest of the story is probably true, about Carl written the words on an empty potato sack''.

Surprisingly, there are only three takes of ''Blue Suede Shoes''. Most of us know one of them by heart. Here are the other two. As you listen, bear in mint that, once again, Sam picked the correct one for release. On the first outtake, which was also the first take of the song, Carl begins with ''Go boy, go'', which Phillips quickly suggested Carl change to ''Go cat, go''. Surprisingly, Carl's guitar solos are pretty much as on the issued version. The lyrics, too, are pretty similar. Both of these things are unusual for Carl Perkins outtakes where change was often the byword. The general mix and recorded sound are also similar to the released version. The biggest difference appears at the closing – what we don't have here is the extended ending with Carl singing ''Blue, blue, blue suede shoes...'', under his guitar boogie. Without this feature, the ending is abrupt, or at least it seems that way after we've spent half a century with the released version. And note that the song ends on a 1-7 chord, instead of the 1-6 of the original release. That's not just technical talk for musicians, those chords feel very different.

The second outtake (which was actually the third take in the studio, Sam released the middle one) features ''Go cat, go'' on both the start and ending. This time Carl sings the more rural phrase, ''Drink my corn'' rather than ''Drink my liquor'', which is what we've grown accustomed to hearing.

Compared to the single, the vocal performance here seems more exaggerated or stagey. These are the kind of vocal inflections you might expect to hear as Carl winds up for the final verse, yet they appear at the start here. On this version Carl again uses the extended ending that we know from the single. But this time he's singing too much. There are too many lyrics here instead of simple repetition of the little phrase, as happens on the single. The effect seems contrived like the issued version, the song ends on a 1-6 chord here.

01(3) - "BLUE SUEDE SHOES" - B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 101 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494-1-17 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

01(4) - "BLUE SUEDE SHOES" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Test Acetate - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Unidentified one-word overdub on this test acetate.
Released: - May 29, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-1-6 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

02(1) - "HONEY DON'T" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494-1-18 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS
Reissued: April 27, 2012 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240-1-30 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(2) - "HONEY DON'T" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 101 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494-1-19 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

''HONEY DON'T''

Thought it came to be the flip side of ''Blue Suede Shoes'', ''Honey Don't'' was the side getting the major airplay in Jackson and Memphis when Sun 234 was released. That didn't last of course, because when ''Blue Suede Shoes'' quickly became a smash in Cleveland the future was clear.

But it does remind us that it's a terrific record in its own right and the people closest to this style us of music recognized that immediately. One of its distinctive qualities is the chord sequence in the verses - shuttling back and forth between E and C before going into the boogie-style refrain. As Carl recalls in his biography, he made the song up on the spot in a club in Jackson and he got into a dispute with Jay who didn't understand what the chords were at first and then didn't approve of them. Carl said, ''Just do it'' It worked out all right.

The two outtakes here differ considerably from the released version. The lyrics are different from Sun 234 - for example the repeated ''please, please, please''. The verses in the second outtake are almost incoherent. (How come you will you say when you don’t/ Tell me baby don't you know you won't''). And the long-mysterious - for-many-of-us line in the release about ''you got that sand all over your feet'' (a mystery solved by listening to ''Honky Tonk Babe/Gal'' and discovering that the sand came from a dance floor) doesn't appear in either of these outtakes.

The arrangement evolves toward the final released version too. In the first outtake, W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland plays his drums through what was supposed to be band silence behind Carl's vocal. At the time, it was a mistake though for the released version they decided it had been a good idea. W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland remembers, the episode quite clearly. ''I played through the stops because I didn't know any better. When we listened to the playback I said to Sam, 'Well that doesn't sound too bad and what does it hurt?'. And Sam said It doesn't hurt anything and that's what makes it different. 'So we just decided to leave it in. Things like that happened at Sun all the time. It wasn't anything anybody planned, but it worked out just fine''. The beginning of the guitar solo in the first outtake is very different from the one on the released version; by to second outtake, the solo we all know is taking shape.

But all of that matters little. Both of these outtakes are wonderful in just the way that the released version is. One key to it all is the energetic and a remarkably fluent boogie guitar figures that Carl plays during the verses and in the second halves of the solos. The other is Carl's enthusiastic vocals, they're so good that the words fade into unimportance.

We can wonder how different popular culture would have been if Cleveland had shared Tennessee's preference for this side of Sun 234. Three other songs are recorded at the same time: "Sure To Fall" (with Jay taking the lead), "Tennessee" (with Jay joining Carl on the chorus), and "Honey Don't".

None of the trade papers knew what to call Carl's Shoes or its flipside "Honey Don't" when it was released in December 1955. Terms like "rhythm ditty" or country boogie were tossed around, but it wasn't until the fall of 1956 that the world would begin hearing the phrase rockabilly to describe what had been born at Sun.

02(3) - "HONEY DON'T" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 77 Master Take 3
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 234-B < mono
HONEY DON'T! / BLUE SUEDE SHOES
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-1-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Lee Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
James Buck Perkins - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland - Drums

Carl Perkins played a 1952/53 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top with two P-9- Pickups and a ''trapeze tailpiece through a small Fender Amp when he recorded on this session. Some source suggested that ''Honey Don't'' is recorded several weeks prior the ''Blue Suede Shoes'' session. Than. the guitar that Carl Perkins on ''Blue Suede Shoes'' is also a Les Paul Gold Top, but with a 1955 Bigsby. After ''Blue Suede Shoes'' became a hit, Carl painted the guitar blue and later his youngest son Greg Perkins, painted it black. It's currently in Stan Perkins vault in Jackson, Tennessee.

Sam Phillips was so excited about the ''Blue Suede Shoes'' session that rather than ship them off to Chicago to have them mastered by Bill Putnam, Sam cut the masters in the studio himself and by the end of the workday had sent them off by air express to have stampers made, the first step in the manufacturing process. This was a ''rush'' job'', he wrote to Jack Rosen, who was making the stampers. ''We are waiting to run this number now''. In the meantime, he cut dubs for the local disc jockeys, and Dewey Phillips played the hell out of the song over the next two weeks, before it was officially released on January 5, 1956.

For Biography of Carl Perkins see: > The Sun Biographies <
Carl Pekins' Sun/Flip recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

(Above) The Perkins Brothers Band, circa 1951, before Clayton or W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland joined Carl and Jay. Informal performance at Hardware store in Jackson, Tennessee. From left: Ramsey Kearney, Carl (with pre-solid body electric guitar), Clayton Perkins (standing behind Carl), Jay Perkins, Benny Coley, and Lindsey Patterson

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CARL PERKINS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1955

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY DECEMBER 19, 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

''SURE TO FALL''

This song is the only one to give the lead vocals duties over to Carl's brother Jay. It was an idea that never got repeated. Sam had already told Carl, that he, Carl, should be the singer - the world already had one Ernest Tubb. Carl sings harmony in the verses and the lead in the release. Carl is by far the better singer, although the song is pitched so that the highest notes he has to reach in the release are not comfortably within his range.

The song itself is a conventional country ballads written by Carl with a whole lot of input from Claunch and Cantrell, and it's a good one. Despite its obscurity, it aspired remakes by the next generation of musicians.

It's one of the many Perkins songs that the Beatles performed in the early 1960s, Ringo Starr recorded it solo in 1981. NRBQ (New Rhythm And Blues Quartet) recorded it in 1969, months before doing their album with Carl, and played it at their shows at least into 1980s.

There here three outrages. They an quite solar to each other and to the released version. Carl's approach to the guitar solo is interesting – fast strummed chords that convey much of the melody.

His control over the volume of the instruments in doing that is a nice dramatic touch. It's the sort of thing that bluegrass mandolinists often do, but not so common for guitar players He takes a new tack m the last part of the solo in the third of our outtakes, going to single-note melody. The second outtakes is noticeably slower than the first and the drums are more prominent. Those seem like wise decisions. In that second Carl's guitar adds a flatted 7th to the IV chord to make it a little bluesier in the first occurrence of the release but he does not repeat It.

These three only slightly different takes on this song led directly to the version that ultimately appeared on Sun. Obviously, the boys thought they had it about right when they started taping, but a few new ideas got tried out along the way.

01(1) - "SURE TO FALL" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Carl Perkins-William E. Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-3-12 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-2-16 mono
THE SUN YEARS BOX 1950 - 1959

01(2) - "SURE TO FALL" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Carl Perkins-William E. Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240-1-26 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

01(3) - "SURE TO FALL" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Carl Perkins-William E. Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240-1-27 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

01(4) - "SURE TO FALL" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Carl Perkins-William E. Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Master Take 4 > Sun 235-A < Unissued.
With Jay Perkins taking the Lead
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
May have been scheduled as Carl and Jay Perkins
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - 1955 Sun Records (EP) 45rpm standard single SUN EPA 115 mono
BLUE SUEDE SHOES
Reissued - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-1-13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

"Sure To Fall" is a lovely country song, according to Cantrell, it was originally scheduled as the flipside of SUN 234. As Cantrell remembers it, he did little to further his own cause, persuading Phillips that the two rockers belonged together. In the cold light of history, there is no telling how much that touch of humility cost Cantrell.

"Tennessee", is a glorious piece of hokum with a barrelhouse chorus capable of raising the patriotic hairs on a great many necks. Sam Phillips briefly envisioned the track as a single credited to Carl and Jay Perkins.

02(1) – "TENNESSEE" - B.M.I. - 0:33
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - None - Fragment 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Released: April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240-1-24 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

''TENNESSEE''

Another casualty of ''Blue Suede Shoes''. ''Tennessee'' was to have been one side of the mysteriously lost Sun 235. As is now known, a record consisting of it and ''Sure To Fall'' credited to the Perkins Brothers Band was scheduled for release but pulled at the last second when ''Blue Suede Shoes'' started to chart at a level nobody had anticipated. In order to put all of Sun's meager resources behind the likely winner, the Perkins Brothers were withdrawn favor of Carl, himself. The world had to wait until Carl's first and only Sun LP (1225) to hear this (and ''Sure To Fall'').

The closest we come to an outtake is the final 32 seconds of one. We exhausted the vault, looking for a complete outtake and this is all that remains. ''Tennessee'' is a clever song, once again showing Carl's lyrical flair. He proudly gives his home state credit for such diverse treasures as Eddy Arnold and atomic bombs.

02(2) – "TENNESSEE" - B.M.I. - 3:02
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - None - Master > Sun 235-B < Unissued. 
With Jay Perkins joining Carl on the chorus
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
May have been scheduled as Carl and Jay Perkins
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SLP 1225 mono
DANCE - THE BEST OF CARL PERKINS
Reissued - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-1-14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

"Tennessee", another uptempo country song is a brag song by Carl about his home state, taking credit for everything from Eddy Arnold to nuclear waste. "Sure To Fall"/"Tennessee" is the famous missing single. The mystery wasn't that great. On the master log, the artist entry is left blank, and SUN 235 was probably to be issued under the name of the Perkins Brothers Band, but the success of "Blue Suede Shoes" put those plans on hold.

Both sides of what would have been SUN 235 are familiar to most Perkins fans. They appeared on Carl's first Sun album. Both relegate Carl to the role of backup singer and lead guitarist.

Nevertheless, his presence is still strong here, so much so that most listeners never thought it odd when these sides appeared without special billing on Carl's album. The reason is quite simple, at this point, the name Carl Perkins really did mean the Perkins Brothers Band. It wasn't until the success of "Blue Suede Shoes" and the death of Jay that Carl became a solo act. Even then, his familiar vocals and driving guitar sound retained the illusion that nothing had changed.

Sam Phillips listens to the tapes and decides to master two singles from this session. He assigns master numbers as follows: U-176 "Blue Suede Shoes"; U-177 "Honey Don't"; U-178 "Sure To Fall"; U-179 "Tennessee". There is some talk immediately after the session of keeping the old formula of coupling a rockabilly tune with a country weeper, but Sam Phillips decides to go with one rockabilly single to be released under Carl's name and one country single, coupling "Sure To Fall" and "Tennessee" under the name of the Perkins Brothers Band or, possibly, Carl and Jay Perkins. Sam Phillips cuts masters on both singles and ships acetates via Air Express to Jack Rosen at Superior Records in Los Angeles.

He instructs Rosen to process the acetate masters and ship sets of 45rpm and 78rpm stampers (the metal parts used to press records) to Plastic Products in Memphis. "Make all shipments by air", adds Phillips, "and we surely will appreciate your doing a rush job on these - especially 176 and 177".

In late December 1955, Sam Phillips circulates dubs (acetates run from the tapes) to local radio stations and confirms that his hunch is correct; "Blue Suede Shoes" is the side to watch. Plastic Products has the first commercial copies ready by the last week in December.

"Blue Suede Shoes" finally tops most charts. Although it spends almost five months on Billboard's country and pop charts, it is excluded from the number 1 position by "Heartbreak Hotel". By early May both Perkins and Sun Records have logged their first million-seller.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Lee Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
James Buck Perkins - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland - Drums

For Biography of Carl Perkins see: > The Sun Biographies <
Carl Pekins' Sun/Flip recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

DECEMBER 22, 1955 THURSDAY

Sonny James recorded ''For Rent (One Empty Heart)''.

DECEMBER 24, 1955 SATURDAY

Waylon Jennings marries Maxine Carroll Lawrence in Clovis, New Mexico.

Otis Blackwell gives up on becoming a star and decides to concentrate on songwriting, selling six songs to Shalimar Music Publishing for $150. One of them becomes a major Elvis Presley hit the following year, ''Don't Be Cruel''.

After being blacklisted during the McCarthy era, the folk group The Weavers makes a comeback with a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. The group performs ''Goodnight Irene'' and the soon-to-be country hit ''Kisses Sweeter Than Wine''.

DECEMBER 25, 1955 SUNDAY

Thirteen-year-old Tammy Wynette joins Auzella Moore, sister-in-law of Elvis guitarist Scotty Moore, in taking Christmas presents to Elvis Presley to Elvis Presley's house in Memphis.

Rock singer Alannah Myles is born in Toronto, Ontario. Her 1990 pop hit ''Black Velvet'' is quickly remade as a country single by Robin Lee.

DECEMBER 26, 1955 MONDAY

Banjo player Alan O'Bryant is born in Reidsville, North Carolina. A member of The Nashville Bluegrass Band, he writes ''Those Memories Of You'', a 1987 hit for Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.

Theresa Lee Herron, the grandmother of Jerry Lee Lewis dies.

DECEMBER 28, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley had toured together briefly. After Presley's departure, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash they played a date in Texarkana supporting George Jones, who was riding his first hit, "Why Baby Why?". ''None of use had ever been that far away before'' recalled Perkins to Cash Box magazine. ''It was the big break. I met John in West Memphis and we wrote songs together. The next day we were in Tyler, Texas and the promotor promised us $100 each. Up to then, out biggest pay had been in Parsons, Arkansas, when Bob Neal stood at the door with a cigar box and charged everyone who came in a dollar unless they were under 12. We split the take and got $18 for every guy''.

As 1955 ended, Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two were still holding down days jobs. In fact, Cash's only colour television sale was to Marion Keisker at Sun. Within the next few weeks, Cash would sell his last domestic appliance. Good things started to come to Johnny Cash early in the new year. In December 1955 he had played a guest shot on the Louisiana Hayride.

DECEMBER 30, 1955 FRIDAY

Songwriter Troy Jones is born in Port saint Joe, Florida. Nicknamed the ''Forklift Philosopher'' while working at a paper mill, the authors Kenny Chesney and George Strait's ''Shiftwork'' and Billy Currington's ''People Are Crazy''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CHARLIE FEATHERS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1955/1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY END 1955/EARLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "BOTTLE TO THE BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Jody Chastain-Jerry Huffman
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Demo Version 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably End 1955/Early 1956
Released: - 2005
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SNAP 230-2-10 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS - GONE, GONE, GONE

01(2) - "BOTTLE TO THE BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Jody Chastain-Jerry Huffman
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Demo Version 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably End 1955/Early 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-5-8 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-19 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

This is a very different version of the song that Feathers recorded for King in August 1956. All the verses are different and the tag line is ''...if you want me to stay with you'' rather than ''if you want me to baby you''. This is an authentic slice of Southern lowlife with a lot of humour and some genuinely bizarre images:

Back in those days at the sorghum mill
We'd get our juice from the foot of the hill
Well things have done changed, I'm tellin' y'all
When you squeeze your woman you can hear her squall. (chorus)
My little woman and the little kitchy-koo
We're in apartment East 42
When we get sluiced we get a little loud
The landlady up and she throw us out (chorus)
Me and my woman, she's as sweet as two
And when we got a family, we'll know just what to do
I'll sit right down and feed 'em candy too
And when one hollers, I'll know just what to do.

It is entirely possible that Jody Chastain and Jerry Huffman's contribution to this song was to remove those lovely folksy images and replace them on King with something that better belonged in a rock and roll song. If Sam Phillips witnessed the taping of this demo it is surprising that he did not appreciate Feathers' potential for the new music. He let Feathers contract lapse at the time this was recorded although it is possible that the problem of dealing with Feathers outweighed the potential upside.

01(3) - "BOTTLE TO THE BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Jody Chastain-Jerry Huffman
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - 2 cuts spliced - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably End 1955/Early 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (CD) 500/200rpm ZCD 2011-11 mono
THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION OF RARE AND UNISSUED RECORDINGS 1954 - 1973
Reissued: 2005 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SN AP 230 CD-16 mono
GONE, GONE, GONE

2 cuts spliced and 1 version complete.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Feathers - Vocal and Guitar
Probably Jody Chastain - Steel Guitar
Probably Jerry Huffman - Guitar
Unknown - Piano
Unknown Musicians

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Dotty Abbott's name may be unknown to Sun collectors and historians, but if you lived in Memphis during the 1950s she might have been a household name in your neighborhood. When Sam Phillips opened WHER, "the Nation's first All Girl Radio Station" in October, 1955, Ms. Abbott was one of the original on-air personalities. Abbott's smooth voice helped blanket the area with "1000 beautiful watts".

Apparently, Abbott had some interest in broadening her career to include performing on as well as playing records. Having already hired her, how could record company owner Sam Phillips say no?

STUDIO SESSION FOR DOTTY ABBOTT
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1955-1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE LATE 1955 OR EARLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM PHILLIPS

01 - "HAVE YOU EVER BEEN LONELY" - B.M.I. - 1:01
Composer: - DeRose-Brown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Demo - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably Late 1955 or Early 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609 FK-5-3 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

02 - "DIAMOND MINE/STUDIO TALK" - B.M.I. 0:41
Composer: - Dotty Abbott
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Demo – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably Late 1955 or Early 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-1-16 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

Abbott recorded multiple takes of six titles, including cover versions of well known pop hits like "Have You Ever Been Lonely" and "Let Me Go Lover". Her style was a curious blend of 1940s pop or society music struggling to come to terms with the emerging sound of rock and roll. It was an uneasy alliance to say the least. After listening to 25 takes of various titles by Dotty Abbott, one comes to the unavoidable conclusion that as a singer she was a pretty good disc jockey.

Dotty Abbott continued her career in radio for many years, syndicated all over the United States as late-night disc jockey Dollie Holiday, in a program of mood music sponsored by Memphis-based Holiday Inns.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Margie ''Dotty'' Abbott - Vocal
Unknown – Musicians

For Biography of Dotty Abbott see: > The Sun Biographies <
Dotty Abbott's Sun recordings can be heard on her playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE STERLING SISTERS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1955-1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY MID 1950'S
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM PHILLIPS

About the only thing we know for sure are their names: Rose, Peggy and Joyce. Beyond that, its anybody's guess. Two tapes were submitted to Sun in the mid-1950's. One, presumably containing a radio appearance, is lost. The other contains four tracks, from which we sample here. Their arrangements include acoustic guitar accompaniment, piano, and a a cappela vocal. If nothing else, the Sisters were versatile. They had pretty voices and a lovely ability to blend. In that sense they were like The Miller Sisters, but the comparison stops well short of the Millers. The most obvious deficit surrounding The Sterling Sisters was their almost unbelievable lack of timing.

Its one thing for a singer to have a lousy sense of meter. It happens more often than you'd expect. Good voice, good feel, lousy timing. But when three singers manage to sing out of meter in unison, you've got something really special on your hands. Welcome to The Sterling Sisters. Unlike The Kirby Sisters, this demo did not result in an invitation from Sam to visit Memphis.

01 - "NO LETTER TODAY" - B.M.I. - 1:56
Composer: - Frankie Brown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Demo - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably Mid 1950's
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-3-22 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

02 - "I SAW A MAN" - B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Arthur Smith
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Demo - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably Mid 1950's
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-3-26 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

03 - "ST. LOUIS BLUES" - B.M.I. - 3:10
Composer: - W.C. Handy
Publisher: - Pace & Handy Music Corporation
Matrix number: - None – Demo - Not Originally
Recorded: - Probably Mid 1950's
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - August 2002 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-4-23 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Sterling Sisters - Vocals
Unknown Musicians

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

FALL 1955

Orbison enrolled at Odessa Junior College in the fall of 1955 wanting to major in Geology but then changed to History and English. Soon, the band moved in together to a duplex in Walnut Street in Odessa. With a couple of new members they renamed themselves "The Teen Kings" as they were playing more and more Rock and Roll. They got a second weekly local TV show on Saturdays from 4:30 to 5 PM on KOSA-TV, Odessa, Channel 7, which was part of the national CBS network.

Johnny Cash and also Elvis Presley came in town to perform around this time and appeared on Roy's TV show. Roy asked Johnny for advice on how to get a record released and Cash gave him Sam Phillips telephone number in Memphis. He called Mr. Phillips who hung up the phone saying, "Johnny Cash doesn't run my record company''.

DECEMBER 1955

Dick Stuart takes over from Bill Strength as morning disc jockey on KWEM radio, West Memphis, Arkansas. Stuart is later to manage Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash head a Sun package tour of Texas. On December 28, they join George Jones for a show in Texarkana, Texas.

"Cry, Cry, Cry" was still doing good business, and Sam Phillips held off releasing for Johnny Cash's new single until December. A few weeks earlier, Phillips had acquired a little venture capital from RCA, and he pumped it behind Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. He placed an advertisement in the trade papers touting "handsome and young" Johnny Cash.

DECEMBER 1955

Then, in 1955, while Jack Clement attending Memphis State University, he performed a Christmas Eve gig at a friend’s club in Arkansas. That same friend, Slim Wallace, drove him home, accompanied by Mrs Wallace and another woman who, deemed to be drunk and disorderly during a stop at a diner, ended up being arrested and thrown in jail, along with her sober defender, Mr Clement. Still, this would have a fortunate outcome.

''Slim and I wanted to form our own label, Fernwood Records, and during my spare time I was building a studio in his garage'', Clement recalls. ''Anyway, he hung around to get me out of jail on Christmas Day, and since there wasn’t much public transportation we decided to hitchhike. Out on the highway, we were picked up by this guy named Billy Lee Riley. He was a rockabilly artist, and after I told him that Slim and I were getting into the record business, we rehearsed some of Billy’s songs in Slim’s garage. It didn’t have good enough equipment to make a proper record, so I wound up producing ''Trouble Bound'' and ''Think Before You Go'' at the studio of the WMPS radio station''.

Clement subsequently took the tape of this session to the Memphis Recording Service for mastering, and when he returned a few days later, he ran into Sam Phillips who, impressed by what he had heard, told him he’d like to release Riley’s tracks on Sun Records and that he’d also like to offer Clement a job. Hardly enamoured with his current parttime work at a local hardware store, Clement accepted, and on June 15th, 1956, he became Sam Phillips’ assistant. ''If the Arkansas cops hadn't put me in jail on Christmas Eve, I would have never met Billy Riley and landed a job with Sun Records'', says Clement, while adding,''Fate sometimes has a wonderful way of intervening''.

DECEMBER 1955

Sam Phillips owned the publishing rights to Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes", although the song was represented by Hill and Range as part of the Presley deal. This meant that every record company who pushed a version onto the market owed Sam Phillips two cents for every copy sold. The success of "Blue Suede Shoes" also enabled Sam Phillips to assemble the nucleus of his foreign deals which saw Sun product go to Decca/London for most of the world and to Quality Records and subsequently London Records in Canada.

The reel of tape, the bottles of bourbon and the night's work that Sam Phillips invested in "Blue Suede Shoes" on December evening paid a dividend more handsome than anything he dared dream as he locked up the studio and walked to his car that night. The record business is a lottery and Phillips had hit the jackpot. More than that, he was a success on his own terms. He had recorded music that no-one else believed in. He recorded it his way. He released it on his own label. And he reaped the colossal rewards.

Carl Perkins too had been vindicated. However, for Perkins the struggle was just beginning. Although he wrote songs that were, in some respects, better than "Blue Suede Shoes", he could never recapture the commerciality of the muse that came to him at 3 o'clock on the morning when he went downstairs and scratched his anthem on a potato bag.

DECEMBER 1955

"Defrost Your Heart" b/w Wedding Gown Of White'' (Sun 231) by Charlie Feathers is released.

Sun 234, ''Blue Suede Shoes'' b/w ''Honey Don't'' by Carl Perkins is released. This becomes a hit on the national popular, country and rhythm and blues charts, heralding an era of success for Sun with rockabilly music. On the very first day of the release, Music Sales, Sam Phillips' Memphis distributor, put in an initial order for four hundred, then ordered six hundred more by the end of the day. In Dallas, Alta Hayes of Big State, who had been the first to give Sam hope that his experiment might actually catch on, moved twenty-five hundred copies out the door. By the end of the month it had passed one hundred thousand sales, and Phillips was advertising it as a bona fide three-way smash, pop, country, and rhythm and blues. After gross sales of $45,000 in the last quarter of 1955, a new high for Sun, the label suddenly rocketed to nearly six times that amount in the first quarter of 1956, and then to an almost unimaginable $350,000 in the second quarter, representing sales of something like $865,000 records.

The impact on Sun's tiny three-person storefront operation was almost impossible to imagine. For Sally Wilbourn, who had gone to work at the end of November and just turned nineteen the week that ''Blue Suede Shoes'' came out, it was as if her whole world had turned upside down.

''It just seemed like everything burst wide open. You have to remember what we didn't have'', said Sally Wilbourn, ''You didn't have electric typewriters. You didn't have photostat machines. You didn't have calculators. Everything was carbon copy. Every sample that went to a radio station had to be packaged individually with a label typed and put on them, and then you had to weigh them and put postage on them. Records wore out. Juke boxes would just wear them out. I was packaging records, going to radio stations every day, you know, and answering the phone. I didn't know a lot but I was capable of learning. I got to the point where Marion Keisker and I were working every night. Then I started working Sundays, doing invoices, because there was nobody else to do it except Marion and me. Just doing the billing was the biggest job. We would have to get in the studio on Sunday afternoon and spread all of those invoices from every distributor out in the middle of the floor. We had no other place to do it, and some of them were so thick because we were selling so many records''.

"No More" b/w ''They call Our Love A Sin'' (Sun 236) by Jimmy Hagget is released at about this time "Sure To Fall" b/w ''Tennessee'' (SUN 235) by Carl and Jay Perkins is scheduled but never officially issued.

Sun 237/Flip 237 ''The Chicken (Dance With You)'' b/w ''Love For You, Baby'' by Rosco Gordon is released.

END DECEMBER 1955

Johnny Cash's musician Marshall Grant, was convinced that they would see better times. "On a lot of early shows we were openers", he told David Booth, "but I could see the momentum already there. Johnny Cash was becoming popular with that little different sound we had. His big gigantic voice was cutting through something fierce. You could see it grow day by day".

As 1955 ended, Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two were still holding down day jobs. In fact, the only colour television set Johnny Cash would ever sell was to Marion Keisker at Sun. Whitin the next few weeks, though, Johnny Cash would sell his last domestic appliance. In December 1955, Johnny Cash played a guest shot on the Louisiana Hayride.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS FOR JOHNNY CASH
FOR KWKH'S LOUISIANA HAYRIDE, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, 1954

MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM, 705 GRAND AVENUE AND
MILAM STREET, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
DECEMBER 1955 - VIEWING TIME TV-STATION KWKH
SESSION HOURS: SATURDAY 8:00 PM
PRODUCER - HORACE LOGAN

01 – ''HEY PORTER'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Johnny R. Cash
Published: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: December 1955
Released:
First appearance: - Louisiana Hayride (LP) 33rpm LH-973-1 mono
LOUISIANA HAYRIDE SATURDAY NITE

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant - Bass

For Biography of Johnny Cash see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

FALL 1955

Roy Orbison returned from North Texas State in Denton with an original song, ''Ooby Dooby'', learned from two fellow students, Wade Moore and Dick Penner. They'd copyrighted it as ''The Ooby Dooby'' on May 2, 1955, and Roy had seen them perform it on-stage at a free concert. ''They sang it and the people went crazy'', he remembered. Roy first recorded it at Jim Beck's studio in Dallas, Texas in late 1955.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

Wade Lee Moore and Dick Penner where two college friends of Roy's at Denton and they had written "The Ooby Dooby". Dick Penner arranged for them to record his song at Jim Beck's studio in the outskirts of Dallas, Texas, which is South-East of Denton. Beck had been instrumental in the discovery of Lefty Frizzell and Marty Robbins for Columbia Records, so the band headed for Dallas to record "Ooby Dooby" and "Hey, Miss Fannie" which appears to be a duet of Roy Orbison and James Morrow.

The session took place at some point during the summer of 1955 before the boys returned to West Texas. Roy was convinced that they would be signed to Columbia Records, which never happened.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROY ORBISON
FOR COLUMBIA RECORDS 1955

JIM BECK RECORDING STUDIO
1914 FOREST AVENUE, DALLAS, TEXAS
COLUMBIA SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE LATE 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN

This was an audition session for Columbia Records. The session is published on the Sun vaults priority has been given to historic content.

01 - "OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Wade Moore-Dick Penner
Publisher: - Barbara Orbison Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1955
Released: - 2001
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-2-18 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

02 - "HEY! MISS FANNIE''* - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Ahmet Ertegun
Publisher: - Barbara Orbison Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1955
Released: - 2001
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-2 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Wink Westerners consisting of
Roy Orbison - Vocal, Guitar and Duet Vocal*
Charles Evans - Bass
James Morrow - Electric Mandolin and Duet Vocal*
Billy Pat Ellis - Drums

The band was noted as the Wink Westerners on the acetate, so it's possible that the name change didn't come until very late 1955 or early 1956. Roy's name was spelled ''Ordasun''. Columbia's Don Law saw no merit in Orbison but gave the acetate to one of his contracted artists, Sid King, who recorded ''Ooby Dooby'' on March 1956.

For Biography of Roy Orbison see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

LIVE PERFORMANCE FOR JOHNNY CASH

KWEM STUDIO
231 BROADWAY STREET, WEST MEMPHIS, ARKANSAS
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY LATE 1955 OR EARLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - CLYDE LEOPPARD

By this point, Johnny Cash was playing a regular fifteen minute show on KWEM, West Memphis and he had started playing local gigs arranged by Bob Neal. Despite denials at various stages of his career, Cash was playing lowlife honky tonks. Marshall Grant remembered, "more guns and knives than fans at most of those early gigs". Cash became the hit of Bob Neal's eighth Anniversary show, just as Presley had been the surprise hit a year earlier. Dick Stuart, who worked as a disc jockey on KWEM as "Poor Richard" reported to Billboard that "this year Johnny Cash broke through as the outstanding new act in Memphis". Stuart promptly signed him to a management deal.

01- "ROCK 'N' ROLL RUBY" - B.M.I. - 1:40
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Late 1955 or early 1956
Released: - 1984
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 103 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-1-19 mono
JOHNNY CASH THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

"Rock 'N' Roll Ruby" is the only track featured that was not taped at Sun Studios. Recorded at KWEM Radio it was preserved on an acetate and demonstrates that Cash was not really suited to rock and roll although it is far more confident performance than "Youre My Baby". Back in mid-1955 they had appeared on KWEM on a programme entitled Mid-South Country Frolics and performed "Wide Open Road", "One More Ride", "Luther's Boogie" and "Belshazzar", all tracks that he would go on to record for Sun. Warren Smith later recorded ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'' for Sun Records on February 5, 1956 (SUN 239).

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar
Marshall Grant - Second Vocal and Guitar

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

There there were others for whom Sam Phillips had great hope as well. One was ''sultry feline redhead'' Barbara Pittman, the new Snearly Ranch Boys vocalist, applauded by Billboard for ''the back shack sound, female style of her Sun debut. Pittman had run away with cowboy star and bullwhip performer Lash LaRue's traveling show in her mid-teens and was told by Sam Phillips ''to go out and learn how to sing'' the first time she presented herself at the studio here in the end of 1955.

Barbara Pittman's career was the proverbial press agent's dream. As a kid, she spent time behind the scenes at her uncle's pawn shop on Beale Street, where she listened to jam sessions with legendary blues men like B.B. King. Barely into her teens, Barbara appeared along with her schoolmate Elvis Presley at the Eagles Nest, a Memphis nightclub, until she was fired for being underage. ''I was making $5 a night. Big money at the time''.

DEMO SESSION FOR BARBARA PITTMAN
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1955

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY END 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

01 - ''I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO'' – B.M.I.
More details unknown
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Magnum Force (LP) 33rpm MFLP 056 mono
RED HOT ROCKABILLY - VOLUME 4
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX-15359 mono
I NEED A MAN

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Barbara Pittman - Vocal
More Details Unknown

Barbara offered some fascinating recollections of Elvis in the earliest days of his Sun affiliation. ''I remember we were playing at a Catholic school on Jackson Avenue one evening. This was back in 1955 before Elvis had dyed his hair black. It was still blond. He had his dad's old ''pushmobile'' we used to call it. You used to have to push it to get it started. It was pouring down rain when we came out of the show. Elvis had this black shoe polish in his hair. This was before he could afford to dye it properly. It was raining and the shoe polish was running down his face and all over his clothes. All these little screaming girls were after him and here's Elvis looking like Al Johnson in make up. It was awful. The King standing there with a black dye running all down his face''.

Barbara recalled time spent at 706 Union Avenue, ''Elvis and I sometimes went down to the Sun studio in the afternoon after he got off from work. Sam was hardly ever there and Elvis used to answer the phone. There was really nothing going on there in the afternoon at that time. Everything was done at night. So Elvis and I were taking care of the studio. A lot of people were talking to Elvis on the phone at that time and never even knew it''.

For Biography of Barbara Pittman see: > The Sun Biographies <
Barbara Pittman's Sun/PI recordings can be heard on her playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR LUKE MCDANIEL
FOR MELADEE RECORDS 1955

J&M RECORDING STUDIO
838-40 RAMPART STREET, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
MELADEE SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - MEL MALLORY
RECORDING ENGINEER - COSIMO MATASSA

Luke McDaniels recorded as Jeff Daniels. According to Luke, ''I figured Jeff Daniels sounded more like a star''.

During 1953-1954, Luke recorded twelve songs in three sessions for King Records to a consistently high standard, but nothing broke away in the country charts and Luke, always irritated by poor royalty accounting, finally broke with King Records and moved to Mel-a-Dee Records, based in New Orleans and owned by Mel Mallory. The result was a stunning "One-Off" session, which produced the staggeringly good double-sider "Daddy-O-Rock"/"Hey Woman", both sides featuring the wonderful Lee Allen on tenorsax. Luke had met and working a show with Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins in October 1954 at the Louisiana Hayride and became strongly influenced by this new rocking music, as can be heard on the transition from his King recordings.

The Mel-A-Dee single was released in 1955 and during the same year, Luke submitted a song had written called "Midnight Shift" to Buddy Killen. Being contracted already as a writer to Acuff-Rose, meant that Luke made in the Tree Office and succeeded in persuading the just emerging Buddy Holly to record it for Decca. Apparently it was eight years before Luke discovered that Buddy had recorded his song. With the Mel-A-Dee single not exactly overheating the charts, Luke carried on playing the usual round of clubs plus TV and radio appearances. Sometime in 1956, Luke he took Elvis' advice and went to Sun Records, he began making overtures to Sam Phillips in Memphis, which cultinated in a musically wonderful session at Sun on September 4-5, 1956, but financially not so!

01 – ''DADDY-O-ROCK'' - B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Mallory Music
Matrix number: - G8OW-5208
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1955
Released: - 1955
First appearance: - Meladee Records (S) 45rpm standard single Meladee 117-A mono
DADDY-O-ROCK / HEY WOMAN
Reissued: 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper STCD 24-2 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL – MISSISSIPPI HONKY TONK ROCKABILLY MAN

02 – ''HEY WOMAN'' - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Mallory Music
Matrix number: - G8OW-5209
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1955
Released: - 1955
First appearance: - Meladee Records (S) 45rpm standard single Meladee 117-B mono
HEY WOMAN / DADDY-O-ROCK
Reissued: 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper STCD 24-6 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL – MISSISSIPPI HONKY TONK ROCKABILLY MAN

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Luke McDaniel as Jeff Daniels - Vocal & Guitar
Lee Allen – Tenor Saxophone
More Details Unknown

Around this time, Luke McDaniel co-wrote ''Midnight Shift'' under the pseudonym Earl Lee. His purported co-writer, Jimmie Ainsworth was actually distant kin to yodelin' Jimmie Rodgers. (Years later, Rogers produced a Sun single by the Teenangels). ''Midnight Shift'' was registered on February 14, 1956, a few days after Buddy Holly recorded it, though it's unclear how Rogers and McDaniel got it to Tree Music in Nashville. Presumably, the song was written pseudonymously because McDaniel and Rogers were under contract to Mel Mallory.

For Biography of Luke McDaniel see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

1955/1956

By 1954, Honeycutt was playing and singing around Memphis and in late 1955 or early 1956 Honeycutt auditioned for Sam Phillips at Sun Records, a balladeer by inclination, Honeycutt came in with a few country-style songs, but was rejected on that basis. ''Sam said he wasn't interested in country music. That Nashville had it all sewed up. Why butt heads with those guys'? Glenn began talking to Slim Wallage, who was on the point of starting Fernwood Records. ''I was trying to book some schools, stuff like that'', he said later. ''Then I hooked up with Ronald Slim Wallace. Jack Clement was in the band for a time with me and we played around Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. Jack played drums mostly, and when he would want to sing I knew just enough at the drums that I could sit down with a snare drum while he took the guitar and could sing''. Wallace and Clement converted Wallace's garage on Fernwood Avenue into a makeshift recording studio and recorded Billy Riley. Sam Phillips heard their work when he mastered Riley's recordings, and offered Clement a job. Clement played Phillips some recordings he'd made with Honeycutt, earning Honeycutt a shot on Sun.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

Once it was clear that Sam Phillips did not intend to release any more of his boogies on Sun Records, Ross set about finding an alternative way to get his music out. It is not clear whether he tried out for Chess, Vee-Jay or other Illinois companies or went straight to the self-help option but, however it evolved, his next release was on his own DIR label (standing for Doctor Isaiah Ross). It is probably that the two sides issued on DIR 1101/2, ''Industrial Boogie'' and ''Thirty-Two Twenty'', were recorded at the same time or shortly after the tape submitted unsuccessfully to Sun in 1955, but the issue date is uncertain. Ross told some interviewers that he issued the record soon after he moved to Flint and he told others that he waited out his 5 year contract with Sun before starting DIR late 1955. The latter scenario is unlikely because Sam Phillips usually only issued contracts for one or two years. At any rate, the record came out on both 78rpm pressing and 45rpm.

STUDIO SESSION FOR DOCTOR ROSS
FOR DIR RECORDS 1955/1958

PROBABLY BRISTOW BRYANT STUDIO, FLINT, MICHIGAN
DIR SESSION: PROBABLY 1955/1958
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - ISAIAH ROSS

01 - "INDUSTRIAL BOOGIE'' - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Alibri Music
Matrix number: - D 1001
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s) 1955/1958
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Dir Records (S) 45rpm Dir A-101/2 mono
INDUSTRIAL BOOGIE / THIRTY-TWO TWENTY
Reissued: - June 14, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16939-23 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

''Industrial Boogie'' is basically ''Boogie Chillen'' and ''Feelin' Good'' with the action moved from Detroit or Memphis to Flint and found various music venues on Industrial Avenue and the black residential streets of St John (razed to the ground in the 1970s for the expansion of the Buick plants). Where John Lee Hooker's boogie took us to Henry's Swing Club on Detroit's Hastings Street and Similar songs cited Johnny Curry's Tropicana club on Memphis's Thomas Street. Doctor Ross sets the action in a Flint dive called The Old Beer Bottle. There he found a fine little baby looking for some fun. He told her, ''yes, yes, yes, let's jump awhile'', and boogied on in time-honoured Ross style.

There was apparently only one disc on DIR. it was unlikely that Ross would made a success paying to press and promote his own discs, but he talked about another factor too: ''I was doing all right, my own label, but then my wife acted up. I dropped it because my wife put a suit in the courts. You took a woman out of the South, take her north and you know she can destroy you in no time, bring your pup tent down''.

02 - "THIRTY-TWO TWENTY'' - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Alibri Music
Matrix number: - D 1002
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s) 1955/1958
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Dir Records (S) 45rpm Dir A-101/2 mono
THIRTY-TWO TWENTY / INDUSTRIAL BOOGIE
Reissued: - June 14, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16939-24 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

03 - ''FEEL SO SAD'' - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date(s) 1955/1958
Released: - 1992
Reissued: - June 14, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16939-20 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS
Reissued: - 2013 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-27 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charles Isaiah Ross - Vocal, Guitar, Harmonica, Drums

For Biography of Doctor Ross see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

> Page Up <

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 - ©