CONTAINS
For music (standard singles) and playlists on YouTube click on the available > buttons <
> Back 1956 Sun Schedule <

1956 SESSIONS (6)
June 1, 1956 to June 30, 1956

Live Broadcast for Johnny Cash, June 2, 1955 / Big D Jamboree
Studio Session for Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty), Mid-1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jack Earls, June 4, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jimmy Williams, June 12, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Ray Harris, June 20, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Rhythm Rockers, Probably June 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Bill Bowen, June 1956 / Meteor Records
Studio Session for Bill Bowen, June 1956 / Sun 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 - ©

JUNE 1956

Sun monopolises the Memphis country chart in Billboard. "Blue Suede Shoes" is still at number 1, with "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby" at number 2, "Ooby Dooby" at 4 and "I Walk The Line" at 6. With ''I Walk The Line'' Sam Phillips achieved an apotheosis of both self-expression and sales, Johnny cash for the first time became the artist Sam had envisioned, not ''just another good singer'' but a singular one. By the end of the month May, the single had sold more than half of what the previous single had achieved in total sales in five months, and less than two weeks later had passed ''Folsom Prison Blues'' in the Top 10 Country Best Sellers. By the third week in June, it stood at number 4 on the national charts and was number 1 on the Memphis best-seller list, with both ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and Carl Perkins' new single, ''Boppin' The Blues'', right behind it, followed by ''Heartbreak Hotel'' and records by two Sun newcomers, Roy Orbison and Warren Smith, at 5 and 6.

Several months before Ernie Chaffin came to Sun Records, Fine Records had announced its intention to put out "Lonesome For My Baby" as one side of Ernie's second release for the label. Tapes have never surfaced and chances are the track was never actually recorded. It's too bad.

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (blues-singer Nina Simone) returns in Atlantic City, New Jersey at Midtown Bar and Grill and make some recordings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Atlantic City in New Jersey, released as ''Gifted And Black'' by Andy Stroud in 1970.

JUNE 1956

After discharged from the Air Force, future Sun recording artist Ray Smith returned to Paducah determined to make a career out of music. Rock and roll had changed everything while he'd been in France, and he'd become to love the new music. ''At first I was strictly country music. I loved Eddy Arnold, Faron Young and Marty Robbins. Then, when I was in Metz, I heard Elvis Presley's first record. I thought it was shit. I wasn't used to that kind of stuff, I guess. Then when I saw his photo I thought he was a sissy but I soon got to like his music and, evetually, I met him, played pool at his house, found he was as nice guy as you'd ever want to meet. I started Ray Smith and the Rock And Roll boys'', recalled Ray.

Sun 244 ''Welcome To The Club'' b/w ''I Won't Be Rockin' Tonight'' by Jean Chapel released.

JUNE 1, 1956 FRIDAY

Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Eddie Bond, and Warren Smith performs at Overton Park Shell. Some 5,000 teenagers turned out for two hours of rockabilly. Elvis Presley made a surprise appearance at the show. After the show, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley signed autographs at Overton Park Shell.

Lisa Hartman is born in Houston, Texas. She marries Clint Black and joins him as a vocalist on ''When I Said I Do''.

JUNE 2, 1956 SATURDAY

Johnny Cash performed on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas.

Elvis Presley arrives in Oakland, California, where Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana and Bill Black accuse him of recording ''Be-Bop-A-Lula'' with other musicians behind their backs. Presley assures them the record belongs to Gene Vincent.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS FOR JOHNNY CASH
FOR BIG ''D'' JAMBOREE, DALLAS, TEXAS, SATURDAY JUNE 2, 1956

01 - ''SO DOGGONE LONESOME'' - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Johnny R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: June 2, 1956
Released: 2011
First appearance: - Columbia Legacy (CD) 500/200rpm 88697 930332-1 mono
JOHNNY CASH -THE BOOTLEG VOLUME 3 - LIVE AROUND THE WORLD

02 - ''I WALK THE LINE'' - B.M.I. - 3:29
Composer: - Johnny R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: June 2, 1956
Released: 2011
First appearance: - Columbia Legacy (CD) 500/200rpm 88697 930332-2 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE BOOTLEG VOLUME 3 - LIVE AROUND THE WORLD

03 - ''GET RHYTHM - B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Johnny R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 2, 1956
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Columbia Legacy (CD) 500/200rpm 88697 930332-3 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE BOOTLEG VOLUME 3 - LIVE AROUND THE WORLD

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 - ©

MID 1956

No discussion of artists who almost saw a release on Sun would be complete without Harold Jenkins aka Conway Twitty; in fact, for years the speculation among collectors was that Sun 252 was destined to be Jenkins. His country soul had been rewired by Elvis Presley, and 706 Union was his first stop. From the hours of tape that Jenkins recorded at Sun only four boxes remained. An acetate of ''Rock House'' left Sun with him, remaining unheard for decades.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR HAROLD JENKINS (CONWAY TWITTY)
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

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

During Conway Twitty's last years for his dead, he had good reason to reflect that country music was starting to take on much of the character of rock and roll as he remembered it. New faces, impossibly young and goodloking, coming and going so quickly. It was so like rock and roll in the fifties. Twitty probably knew that - in all likelihood - there would never be another career like this. His story spanned almost thirty years in the country charts before that. All told, there were five decades in which a Conway Twitty record was somewhere in the charts. It was an epic career with all the ingredients of the movie that will probably be made.

Conway Twitty's greatest gift was his intuitive understanding of his audience. When rock and roll changed in the mid-1960s, he realized that neither he nor his fans were listening to it any more, so he switched to country music. Country spoke to him and his audience in a way that rock didn't. As a country singer, he wrote songs and searched out songs that addressed everyday highs and lows. He followed a generation as it made its often awkward way into and through adulthood.

Whether rockin' and Bandstand or croonin' in Branson, Conway Twitty always knew what his audience wanted. He didn't need market surveys, media consultants, or spin doctors. He just knew.

Conway Twitty wrote a theme song for his group. It was called "Rock House", and it allowed him to leapfrog the line of hopefuls that hung around Sun all day. Just about everything to do with Sun is riddled with obfuscation, and Twitty's months trying to get his name on a yellow Sun record are no exception.

Sam Phillips heard some potential in the song "Rock House", and acquired it for his publishing company. Roy Orbison, then coming off his first hit, reworked it considerably, taking half the composer credit, and it was issued on his second Sun single. "Rock House" was released in September 1956, suggesting that it was recorded in July or August - in other words, within days or weeks of Twitty's first appearance at Sun. In a posthumous MCA collection, Twitty's version of "Rock House" is dated to November 16, 1956 - the first known date of a Twitty session at Sun, but it was probably recorded several months earlier.

01 - "ROCK HOUSE" - B.M.I. - 2:07
Composer: - Harold Jenkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Mid 1956
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8161 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 3
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16112 HI-1-1 mono
CONWAY TWITTY - THE ROCK AND ROLL YEARS 1956 - 1964

Much as Twitty wanted it otherwise, "Rock House" was the only Sun record with his name on it - and it was squirrelled away in brackets, appended to Orbison's name.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Harold Jenkins - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Ray Paulman - Guitar
Bill Harris or Jimmy Evans - Bass
Billy Weir – Drums

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

In June, while the world outside Memphis was reeling from Presley's rocking, the Jimbos put several more songs on tape, including ''Sign It On The Dotted Line'', ''My Gal Mary Ann'', ''Let's Bop'', and ''When I Dream'' (another version of this was cut in 1955). In ''Sign It On The Dotted Line'', Gregory quoted Scotty Moore's ''Heartbreak Hotel'' licks at the start, to establish the rockin' blues that followed.

Phillips contributed the idea for the snappy percussion heard on ''Mary Ann'', where Wahlquist whacked the side of his drum, rather than the head, during the verses. The meter of ''Let's Bop'' increased to a ferocious pace towards the end, demonstrating the band's enthusiasm, as well as Phillips constant search for capturing the feeling in every artist's performance, but the tempo increase wasn't planned.

''Those songs weren't ready for release'', said Earls. "They were just demos ... we weren't satisfied with them ... I don't know why they were released ... On the other hand, I forgot about writing and recording that ''If You Don't Mind''. That's a good song''!

STUDIO SESSION FOR JACK EARLS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: BETWEEN MARCH/OCTOBER , 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

Sun session information from various sources; no complete Sun Records session date exist. Probably recorded June 4, 1956.

Amongst the tapes on this session recently received from the States for "The Unissued Sun Masters" (CPCD 8137), there was a version of "When I Dream". Whilst superficially similar, upon closer investigation there were subtle differences to be found in the vocal between this and the previously issued version from October 1955. Whilst there is no definite proof, this new tape may well be the unissued June, 1956 recording. The band is exactly the same and the difference in timing is only in the order of a second or so, but it is reasonable to assume that this is the previously listed unissued take.

Indeed every take of every song found to date has been here, and only "Come Back Home" and "Game Of Love" are missing of the titles listed as having been recorded by Jack Earls.

01(1) - "SIGN IT ON THE DOTTED LINE" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Jack Earls
Published: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15273-4 mono
LET'S BOP – JACK EARLS
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8197-12 mono
JACK EARLS - HEY SLIM, LET'S BOP! - HIS COMPLETE SUN RECORDINGS

01(2) - "SIGN IT ON THE DOTTED LINE" - 2 - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm Sun 1019-14 mono
ROCK-A-BILLY BLUES
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8197-18 mono
JACK EARLS - HEY SLIM, LET'S BOP! - HIS COMPLETE SUN RECORDINGS

02(1) - "MY GAL MARY ANN" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15273-3 mono
LET'S BOP - JACK EARLS
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8197-13 mono
JACK EARLS - HEY SLIM, LET'S BOP! - HIS COMPLETE SUN RECORDINGS

"My Gal Mary Ann" suffers from an almost crippling dearth of musicianship, but Earls' contagious enthusiasm goes a great distance toward redeeming the performance.

02(2) - "MY GAL MARY-ANN" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Fade-Out - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1024-5 mono
HOT SOUTHERN BOPPERS
Reissued: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311 AH-18 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16

03 - "WHEN I DREAM" - 2 - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8197-5 mono
JACK EARLS - HEY SLIM, LET'S BOP! - HIS COMPLETE SUN RECORDINGS
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-11 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Although his live gigs were few and far between, Jack Earl's set list dispelled any thoughts of a cosy image and the fire-breathing "Let's Bop" was captured for posterity right after he finished work, the first Monday in June 1956.

04(1) - "LET'S BOP" - 1* - B.M.I. - 1:53
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Charly 16-7 mono
THE BEST OF SUN ROCKABILLY
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8197-11 mono
JACK EARLS - HEY SLIM, LET'S BOP! - HIS COMPLETE SUN RECORDINGS

Retitled and edited for a longer version as ''Rock Bop'', issued on Olympic 007 and Dial LP 004 (NL)

04(2) - "LET'S BOP" - 2 - B.M.I. - 2:04
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-14 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

04(3) - "LET'S BOP" - 3 - B.M.I. - 1:58
Composer: - Jack W. Earls
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-20 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

04(4) - "LET'S BOP" - 4 - B.M.I. - 1:22
Composer: - Jack W. Earls
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued - Incomplete
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-28 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

05(1) - "THEY CAN'T KEEP ME FROM YOU" - 2/1 - B.M.I. - 3:02
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-16 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

05(2) - "THEY CAN'T KEEP ME FROM YOU" - 2/2 - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-26 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

06(1) - "HEY JIM" - 2/1 - B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-15 mono
JACK EARLS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

06(2) - "HEY JIM" - 2/2 - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 4, 1956
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-27 mono
JACK EARLS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Earls - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Black - Bass
Danny Wahlquist - Drums
Warren Gregory - Guitar

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JUNE 4, 1956 MONDAY

Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps play first live show in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina.

Decca released Kitty Wells' double-sided hit ''Searching (For Someone Like You)'' and ''I'd Rather Stay Home''.

Capitol released Gene Vincent's ''Be-Bop-A-Lula''.

JUNE 5, 1956 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley appears on ABC-TV's Milton Berle Show. He performs a bump and grind version of "Hound Dog" and ''I Want You, I Need You, I Love You'' which is estimated to been viewed by 25% of the American population and brings howls of protest from critics. One critic calls Elvis' moves ''the mating dance of an aborigine''.

On this day, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Eddie Bond, and many other top acts performed at the Greenville High School Auditorium, Greenville, Mississippi for the r ock and roll jamboree. Adults advance $1.00, at door $1.25 and 50 cents for children.

JUNE 7, 1956 THURSDAY

Larry Boone is born in Cooper City, Florida. He gains a hit with 1988's ''Don't Give Candy To A Stranger'', and writes Tracy Lawrence's ''Lessons Learned'', Lonestar's ''Everything's Changed'' and Kathy Mattea's ''Old Memories''.

JUNE 8, 1956 FRIDAY

Clyde McPhatter appears at the Apollo Theater in New York.

JUNE 9, 1956 SATURDAY

Patti Page makes the cover of TV Guide.

Wesley and Marilyn Tuttle are guests on ABC's ''Ozark Jubilee'', hosted by Red Foley and Porter Wagoner.

JUNE 11, 1956 MONDAY

Decca released The Wilburn Brothers' ''I'm So In Love With You''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Jimmy B. Williams came twice to Sun Records, once with a dance band The Dixielanders, a sixteenpiece band that worked society venues throughout the mid-South. When new trends demanded change, he created the nucleus of a rock and roll combo and again with rockabilly on his mind and lokted into 706 Union through the ever-resourceful Jack Clement. Unlike the gentle approach of his one Sun single, "Fire Engine Red" was considered too hot a prospect to be given a catalogue number at the time.

STUDIO SESSION FOR JIMMY WILLIAMS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY JUNE 12, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

In a 1973 letter, he gave a brief rundown on his life to that point. "I was born in Memphis. In fact. I lived in a government housing project (Lauderdale Courts) along with Elvis Presley. I had a dance band called The Dixie Landers, a 16-piece band that pretty well had the market for dance and show gigs in the mid-South sewn up.

In 1956, Sam Phillips was beginning to hit big with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins so I took the nucleus of my dance band and started a rock band. What we knew about rock, we learned from Elvis Presley and the movies".

Williams continued, "Seeing the way Elvis was received (clothes torn off and thousands of girls) and the way I was received (rotten eggs, tomatoes and Coke bottles), I decided to join the Air Force as a pilot". Later, he became a TWA pilot on the transatlantic route, and kept his hand in the music business by running a studio.

01 - "GOOD LOOKIN' WOMAN'' - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Jimmy Williams
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 12, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Disky Memphis (CD) 500/200rpm 06 mono
THE ULTIMATE MEMPHIS ROCK 'N' ROLL COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - May 29 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-3-21 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

02 - "ROCK-A-BYE BABY'' - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Jimmy Williams
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None Sun Unissued
Recorded: - June 12, 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-5-2 mono
SUN RECORDS – THE ROCKING YEARS - ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY
Reissued: - 1999 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311-31 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16
Reissued: - May 29 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-3-22 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

"Rock-A-Bye Baby" features an unknown unit drawn from William's band.

03(1) - "FIRE ENGINE RED" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Jim Williams
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 12, 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1023-3 mono
ROCK AND ROLL PILS
Reissued: - 2002 Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-4-23 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002

People assume that ''Crazy Arms'' was teenage drummer Jimmy Van Eaton's first appearance in the Sun studio. Actually Van Eaton had been there previously, in the company of band leader/entrepreneur Jimmy Williams. ''Jimmy Williams was just a couple of years older than me bur he was a real go-getter. He was putting together bands, like 15 or 16 pieces, and they were playing in hotels and sorority dances. He used me as his drummer even though I was that young. ''Fire Engine Red'' came from the first session I did at Sun although none of it was released at the time. I remember that Sam engineered it'', recalled Jimmy.

The probably dates from December 1955 or January 1956, by which Van Eaton had been playing regularly with Williams for a while. Several months later in April 1956, Jimmy Van Eaton was back in the studio with his high school group, The Echoes. ''We had a couple of guitars, a stand-up bass and drums and we played Elvis songs. We were in the right place at the right time, that's for sure. The session with the Echoes was something we did on our own. It wasn't for Sun. We were using the Memphis Recording Service. We paid out money just like everybody else and walked out with an acetate dub of our songs. This time Jack Clement cut the session. Roland Janes was there too. They were looking for a bass player and a drummer to work with Billy Riley. They must have liked how we sounded 'cause they hired us on the spot''.

The career of the man, who ultimately played drums on more Sun record than anyone else, began right here. At first efforts go, it's quite a credible one with Van Eaton navigating the stop-rhythm with ease and accenting the instrumental solos.

The song is something else again. We don't know if this girl actually sets the fires, but once the fire-fighters are there in full regalia, she's in a full swoon. Forget money, forget fine cars. Just let her see that uniform and she's gone. Van Eaton recalls them carrying a large fire bell into the studio so they could get an authentic sound for the record. Sorry to say, but the effect, some 60 years later, sounds almost comic. The bell at the closing, in particular, sounds more like they borrowed a 10-year old kid's bike for the session. But far more important, we learn that Jimmy Williams (who went on to be an airline pilot) wasn't much good at singing rockers and Jimmy Van Eaton (who went on to be a studio drummer) was very good.

03(2) - "FIRE ENGINE RED" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Jim Williams
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 12, 1956
Released: - February 2017
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/22rpm BCD 16273-19 mono
GREAT DRUMS AT SUN

04 - "ROCKING HISTORY" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Jim Williams
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 12, 1956
Released: - 1997
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8277-21 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL

05 - "SONNY BOY" - B.M.I. - 1:57
Composer: - Jim Williams
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 12, 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1023-4 mono
ROCK AND ROLL PILS
Reissued: 1996 Lucky Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDLR 801-13 mono
ROCKABILLY GOLD - VOLUME 1

06 - "SWEET ROCKING MAMA" - B.M.I. - 1:58
Composer: - Jim Williams
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 12, 1956
Released: - 1999
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8352-15 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 6
Reissued: - May 29 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-3-22/23 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

07 - ''ROCKIN' IN THE RIVER''
Composer: - Jim Williams
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - June 12, 1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Williams - Vocal and Guitar
Roland James - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
Unknown - Piano
James M. Van Eaton – Drums
Unknown - Saxophone

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS

JUNE 13, 1956 WEDNESDAY

''Star In The Dust'' opens in American movie theaters. The western's cast includes Mamie Van Doren, Clint Eastwood, Harry Morgan and songwriter Terry Gilkyson, who wrote Tennessee Ernie Ford's hit ''The Call Of The Wild Goose''.

Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters buys San Francisco radio station KSFO for a cool $1 million.

JUNE 14, 1956 THURSDAY

On his holidays, Elvis Presley and disc jockey Dewey Phillips visited the Lansky Brother clothing store at Beale Street for some shopings.

JUNE 15, 1956 FRIDAY

Jack Clement is official hired as a producer/songwriter and engineer at Sun at $90.00 a week, just two months after bringing Billy Riley to the label. In the job, he takes part in sessions with Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis.

''Sam was sitting out in the front office by himself and he said, 'Come on back here. I want to talk to you'. So we went back in the control room, and he said, 'I really like that record you brought me.

It's the only rock and roll anybody's brought me around here. That's the only real rock and roll anybody's brought me'. He asked me if I'd be interesting in it being on Sun. He'd pay us a penny a record. I said, 'Well I'll take to my partner, Slim, and let you know.

He said, 'Well what are you doing'? I said, 'I'm working out at Clark and Fay. I don't like it very much. He said, 'Well maybe you ought to come to work for me'. So I said, 'Maybe I should'. Two weeks later I went to work at Sun. All that never would have happened if I hadn't got stuck in jail that night, got picked up by Billy Riley the next day. So the Lord does work in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. Especially when it comes to rock and roll'''.

Jack said, ''I'd never met anyone like Sam before. With Sam, there were no in-betweens, it was all absolutes, it was either great or forget about it, it was either Shakespeare or it ain't worth a shit. But if he liked something, he couldn't contain himself. He'd have you play it again and again, while he says, 'Listen to that part! Ain't that great? Play that part again'''.

Sam Phillips' intensity was something that Jack Clement had never experienced before. He was such a great salesman, Jack quickly realized, he believed so completely in his own product that he was ''almost fearsome at times''. ''The musicians we were working with just weren't that quick and polished. Theywere mostly learning. They were basically gifted amateurs''. The clock didn't mean anything. Everybody was having fun. Sam never really told me a lot about what to do and what not to do. 'Just get in there and have fun, do whatever you want to do, let the guy do the thing, and you capture it. And if it ain't perfect, okay'. He didn't mind certain little mistakes. I did. And it kind of threw me for a loop at first. But he was right!''.

Bob Wills' ballroom at Wills Point, near Sacramento, is destroyed by fire.

JUNE 16, 1956 SATURDAY

Roy Orbison's ''Ooby Dooby'' hits the pop charts, peaking at number 59.

''The Patti Page Show'' begins a four-week run on NBC-TV as a summer replacement series for ''The Perry Como Show''.

JUNE 18, 1956 MONDAY

George Hamilton IV recorded the pop hit ''A Rose And A Baby Ruth'' at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

JUNE 19, 1956 TUESDAY

Doug Brooks is born in Atlanta, Georgia. After changing his name to Doug Stone, to avoid confusion with Garth Brooks, he reels off more than a dozen consecutive hits in the 1990's, including ''I'd Be Better Off (In A Pine Box)'' and ''Warning Labels''.
JUNE 1956

Ray Harris came to the music with less natural aptitude perhaps but in almost exactly the same way. Closer to Sam Phillips' age, he was nearly thirty, than any of the others, Ray grew up in a family of sharecroppers in Mantachie, Mississippi, a tiny hamlet fifteen miles outside of Tupelo. He moved to Memphis in his early twenties and was working with Bill Black at the Firestone Tire and Rubber plant when Bill invited him to a session with a kid that he and Scotty Moore were working with at Sun. Ray's recollection of just what song they were cutting varied in the telling, but his reaction never did. A hard-core hillbilly fan with strong opinions on most matters, he watched this guy, Sam Phillips, working with this funny-looking kid.

''Me and Wayne Cogswell disturbed the neighborhood every night'', said Ray Harris . ''We were hunting something different - like everyone else. We decided to go as wild as we could. We didn't disturb the folks too much until we brought the whole band in. I told the neighbors that they would get a copy of the record. We worked on that song, ''Come On Little Mama'', every night''. Bill Cantrell, who later joined Harris in launching Hi Records, was working on Sun at the time. ''Ray wanted another Elvis'', he told Martin Hawkins and Colin Escott in 1972. ''He couldn't sing and he wasn't good to look at but he didn't care. You would go to visit him and you would hear him practicing from two blocks away. He would open the door wearing nothing but his overalls and dripping and sweat. In the studio he'd throw himself around, arms going like windmills. That record, ''Come On Little Mama'' is a triumph for the guitar man, Wayne Cogswell, and the drummer Joey Reisenberg. They had to keep up with the guy. Man, he was crazy''.

Ray Harris and Wayne Cogswell took their song to Fernwood Records and to Sun's competitor, Meteor, before Sam Phillips agreed to record it. Too deep, too raw, and too impenetrable for mass consumption, it nevertheless earned Harris $300 in royalties.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

''Curl my britches up to my knees/Mama, mama play house with me... Gone go fishin', have a goof time/Git you a woman and a gallon of wine''. That was rural and then some. That was Ray Harris. His two luminous Sun singles are just about a working definition of rockabilly. In fact, ''Come On Little Mama'' might just be the first psychobilly record. If for nothing other than releasing ''Come On Little Mama'', Sam Phillips earns his place in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. ''Greenback Dollar'', like ''Crawdad Hole'' and ''Black Jack David'', was an old mountain song that adapts surprisingly well to its rockabilly makeover. During the 35 years that hillbilly music had been recorded, it had never been this unfettered. This was something new.

STUDIO SESSION FOR RAY HARRIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY JUNE 20, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR BILL CANTRELL

Tall and imposing, with sharp, angular features, Ray Harris carries about him a frightening intensity, and speaks with an impenetrable accent that almost demands subtitles for a listener not from Mississippi. He sat in his wife's Chrysler one humid summer night a few years ago, holding a cassette of a band he had just recorded. As it played, his eyes burned as it reached the parts he liked. He stabbed at the cassette deck. "There! There! I tell you, them boys have got it!. As abruptly as it had arise, though, the energy subsided.

Ray Harris' unbridled enthusiasm comes through on both sides of his debut Sun single. The instrumental work on these sides, while spirited, is thin - even by Sun's spartan standards. If there was a bass player on this session, he might have been in Taylor's Cafe next door when they nailed these takes. There is a priceless anecdote about Ray Harris, practicing his vocal craft in a non-air conditioned Memphis apartment in July, standing in his overalls, dripping with sweat, bellowing his heart out to his undeserving neighbors. Folks living blocks away got to preview an a cappella version of these sides, which Billboard later called "dangerous".

All the practicing apparently paid off for Harris, whose voice Billboard described as "extreme" and "emotion packed". In his more staid later life, Ray Harris spent years as the resident engineer at the Hi Records studio across town.

In its original 45rpm form "Come On Little Mama" proved to be a serious challenge for the avid listener as the single was pressed on particularly low grade vinyl. Only in recent years, with the advent of the digital format, has it been possible to soak up the full impact of what Ray Harris first set out to archieve. As a point of interest, his right hand man was a fine guitarist by the name of Wayne Gogswell who saw success of his own when he penned "Teensville" for Chet Atkins.

01(1) - "COME ON LITTLE MAMA - 2" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Ray Harris-Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 200 Master
Recorded: - June 20, 1956
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 254-B < mono
COME ON LITTLE MAMA / WHERE'D YOU STAY LAST NITE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-3-1 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

"Come On Little Mama" was one of the original Holy Grail Sun singles... and with good reason. Its one of the most berserk records of the era. Ray Harris took his song to Sun. Sam Phillips, surely knowing that he couldn't sell Harris to the mass market, nevertheless responded to his maniacal energy.

"I'll never forget it, he was so intense", says Phillips. "Ray was a very intense person. He really put himself into it. He looked like he was going to have a heart attack every time he played. 'Rack 'em up, boy, let's go!. That was Ray's saying".

"Come On Little Mama" was a definitive statement of supercharged rockabilly: a word apart from country, but not identifiably rhythm and blues or pop. The lyrics were virtually unintelligible, the musicianship limited, and the production sparse, but the performance was irresistible. "Come On Little Mama" apparently sold well locally, and Ray Harris was invited back to cut a follow-up.

01(2) - "COME ON LITTLE MAMA - 1" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Ray Harris-Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated 
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 20, 1956
Released: - 1999
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311-12 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16
Reissued: 1999 Boot Records (CD) 500/200rpm 706/2-1 mono
MEMPHIS BOP - VOLUME 3

This alternate take, if anything, even more frantic than the original.

01(3) - "COME ON LITTLE MAMA" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Ray Harris-Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 20, 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1024-7 mono
HOT SOUTHERN BOPPERS

02(1) - "WHERE'D YOU STAY LAST NITE" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Ray Harris-Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 201 - Master
Recorded: - June 20, 1956
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 254-A < mono
WHERE'D YOU STAY LAST NITE / COME ON LITTLE MAMA
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-3-2 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

03(1) - "LOVE DUMB BABY" - B.M.I. - 3:02
Composer: - Ray Harris
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance; - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1026-5 mono
ROCKABILLY TUNES
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm MID 8118-8 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 2

03(2) - "LOVE DUMB BABY" - B.M.I. - 3:15
Composer: - Ray Harris
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-2-3 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - COME ON LITTLE MAMA
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-1-28 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ray Harris - Vocal and Guitar
Winston Wayne Cogswell - Guitar
Red Hensley - Guitar
Joey Reisenberg - Drums
Unknown – Bass

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JUNE 23, 1956 SATURDAY

Warren Smith guests on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas.

Carl Perkins' "Boppin' The Blues" commences an erratic career in the pop charts, appearing and disappearing three times between June and September. It peaked at only number 70.

Charlie Feathers releases "Tongue Tied Jill" on Meteor 5032, his first record since leaving Sun Records at the end of January 1956.

The cover of TV Guide features Steve Allen, one week prior to Elvis Presley's historic performance of ''Hound Dog'' on Allen's variety show.

Rusty Draper joins host Red Foley on ABC's ''Ozark Jubilee''.

JUNE 24, 1956 SUNDAY

''The Steve Allen Show'' begins a five-year run on NBC. The variety series comedic host wrote the 1950 crossover hit ''Let's Go To Church (Next Sunday Morning)'', recorded by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely.

JUNE 25, 1956 MONDAY

Porter Wagoner recorded ''Tryin' To Forget The Blues'' in the evening at the RCA Studios on McGavock Street in Nashville.

Decca released Webb Pierce's remake of Jimmie Rodgers ''Any Old Time''.

JUNE 27, 1956 WEDNESDAY

''Gotta Travel On'' songwriter Paul Clayton takes part in a parade celebrating the world premiere of the Gregory Peck movie ''Moby Dick'' in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

JUNE 28, 1956 THURSDAY

The Louvin Brothers recorded ''You're Running Wild'' in Nashville.

Bobby Lord recorded ''Without Your Love''.

JUNE 29, 1956 FRIDAY

Elbenezer, Kentucky, observes Merle Travis Day by unveiling a plaque that features the lyrics from the chorus of the Travis-penned ''Sixteen Tons''. The Everly Brothers attend the ceremony.

Jackie Gleason, destined to write Jimmy Dean's hit ''To A Sleeping Beauty'', is on the cover of TV guide.

United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 into law during June of 1956. The Federal Highway Act authorized the creation of the interstate system with the construction of over 41,000 miles of highways across the United States. It was the largest U.S. Public construction project to be undertaken by the government at the point in history and was estimated to cost between $25 and $30 billion to build. Eisenhower pushed for the creation of the interstate system, citing a benefit to national security as the highways would allow for faster and safer evacuation routes in the event of a nuclear attack. The Federal Highway Act also helped to boost the auto industry, solidifying the car’s place in American culture.

JUNE 30, 1956 SATURDAY

The Platters appear on CBS-TV's Stage Show. Alan Freed launches his nationwide radio show aimed directly at teenagers who only want to hear rhythm and blue and rock and roll music. The show is sponsored by Camel cigarettes and is aired on CBS radio 9:00-9:30.

JUNE 1956

Review in Country and Western Jamboree Magazine:

Country boy Carl Perkins used a guitar, a dream and a pair of ''Blue Suede Shoes'' to jump right to the top of big time show-business. A sensational recorder for Sun Records (which has also spawned Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash) Perkins is the only singer in ten years to have a tune in the top of all three music charts.

''Shoes'' has done it – and is still climbing and could be the biggest-selling record of the year. He grossed $20.000 the first month from record royalties. Six weeks before that his biggest weekly paycheck was something like $35.00. Carl, however, says money won't change him – but he will eat more. He's a wiry-lean twenty-three year old with the most natural rhythm beat ever heard. He wrote the lyrics and music to ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and even his original backers and staunchest supporters honestly believe he has better material ready for release when the sales of ''Shoes'' ever subsides.

It's a cinch that Carl is going to add a lot to the entertainment world from now on. Carl does things in a big way. And sometimes big things happen to him. A stroke of misfortune followed him immediate success.

Ed McLemore, owner of the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, the show that stars and part-time backs Perkins was in New York awaiting Perkins. Carl was to appear on Perry Como's nationally-television show March 24th. Wednesday, March 21st, Carl was several injured in a wreck outside of Dover, Delaware and has been hospitalized ever since. That was a bad break for a guy who asked nothing more than ''to stay off them blue suede shoes''.

But Carl will come bounding back. Maybe within a month's time. And this time he'll start right at the top.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE RHYTHM ROCKERS
FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

STUDIO 56
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE / PROBABLY JUNE 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

It was rare for Sam Phillips to release material that he hadn't recorded at 706 Union Avenue, much less record singers whose careers were already established, However, for the second time, Phillips took over some masters from WWVA disc jockey Sidney Gunter. Since the mid-1940s, Gunter had recorded a string of country boogies for labels great and small. The original version of these sides appeared on the regional Cross Country (CX-524) label and ran over three minutes.

Sam Phillips deftly edited down Gunter's single to a more commercial length and tried his luck. Sales of the record, which had been gathering momentum prior to Phillips' involvement, ground to a screeching halt. Years later, Gunter was still complaining about allowing Phillips to tamper with his 'hit'.

In its way, ''Fiddle Bop'' has as much disarming appeal as ''Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby''. Old time fiddler Buddy Durham, whose act was a staple of WWVA, was obviously trying to bring his music into line with prevailing trends. Straddling two camps, he may have succeeded in getting neither pop nor country airplay. In any event, his efforts were destined to be overshadowed by Gunter's. Despite the presence of the magic buzzword 'bop', this tune really succeed as a charming country novelty. It was probably pieced together as a primitive exercise in overdubbing at the WWVA studios.

01 - "FIDDLE BOP"** - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Sidney Gunter-Buddy Durham
Publisher: - Tannen Music
Matrix number: - U 208 Master - Vocal Buddy Durham
Recorded: - Unknown Date / Probably June 1956
Released: - August 3, 1956 
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 248-A < mono
FIDDLE BOP / JUKE BOX, HELP ME FIND MY BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-15 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Sidney Louis "Hardrock" Gunter flitted around a variety of recording situations before settling into a disc jockey slot in Wheeling, West Virginia. Using the radio stations' facilities and adopting the Rhythm Rockers as a name, he recorded "Juke Box" for Cross Country, a dimestore imprint based in Garfield, New Jersey. Getting wind of the developments, Sam Phillips entered the picture and released an edited version of the master some two months later.

"Juke Box, Help Me Find My Baby" is a fine recording was essentially a home-made record that, for a short period, looked set to break and then unaccountably died. Hardrock Gunter, Bobby Durham and Bill Tustin (of the Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper Band) recorded the song in the WWVA studio in early 1956.

Gunter laid down the basic track with vocal and guitar and then Gunter, Durham (who is beating on a cardboard box with a letter opener) and Tustin added the rhythm track before the finished tape was fed through an echo chamber. They employed a number of novel effects, especially during the second chorus in which Gunter imitates a bass. At some point, Gunter contended that the lyrics referred to drug addiction (presumably by virtue of the line ''some monkey's got my baby...'') but if that is indeed the case, then it was his only journey into the murky water of double entendre. The completed tape was leased to Cross Country Records, a label formed in New Jersey by James Frishione, although the A&R guy, Eddie McMullen, pulled most of his acts from WWVA. The Rhythm Rockers' song was picked up by Bill Randle on WERE (Cleveland, Ohio). It looked set to break when Sam Phillips made some enquiries through Nat Tannen (the publisher) about the possibility of acquiring the record. While the deal was done, the momentum of the record was lost. Phillips also edited out about twenty seconds of bass thumping. Perhaps he thought that the single was too long or perhaps he thought that the cheap speakers on most radios would not be able to pick up the bass playing which would give the illusion that the record had died for 20 seconds. There was a cover version (by Tommy Michell on Mercury) but, to all intents and purposes, the record flopped after it was picket up by Sun. The Midas touch had worked in reverse.

02(1) - "JUKE BOX, HELP ME FIND MY BABY*" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Sidney Louis Gunter
Publisher: - Tannen Music
Matrix number: - None - Long Version - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date / Probably June 1956
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm Bopcat 400-10 mono
GOIN' BACK TO MEMPHIS
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-17 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

02(2) - "JUKE BOX, HELP ME FIND MY BABY*" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Sidney Louis Gunter
Publisher: - Tannen Music
Matrix number: - U 209 Master - Vocal Hardrock Gunter
Recorded: - Unknown Date / Probably June 1956
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 248-B < mono
JUKE BOX, HELP ME FIND MY BABY / FIDDLE BOP
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-16 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sidney "Hardrock" Gunter - Vocal and Guitar*
Buddy Durham - Vocal** and Fiddle** Percussion*
Robert "Bob" Tuston – Bass

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILL BOWEN WITH THE ROCKETS
FOR METEOR RECORDS 1956

METEOR RECORDING STUDIO
1794 CHELSEA AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
METEOR SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE JUNE 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - LES BIHARI

Like many Meteor performers, Bill Bowen approached Lester Bihari only after he had already tried out at the longer-established Phillips studio. Fragments of an uncredited and more hillbilly-styled version of ''Don't Shoot Me Baby'' have been found on tape at Sun but no release was made at the time.

Around 1956, Bowen got together with Muscle Shoals guitarist Terry Thompson to make the disc for Meteor. Bowen's band the Rockets makes a good attempt at the prevailing Presley/Perkins sound. Bowen encourages lead guitarist Thompson, shouting ''Play guitar, Terry!'' before the penultimate solo of ''Have Myself A Ball''. Thompson's solos are supported by a string bass, an acoustic guitarist (most likely Bowen) and the lower strings of a second electric guitar chopping away underneath the lead. ''Have Myself A Ball'' is a dance hall special based on Eddie Hill's local radio catch-phrase ''gonna squall and ball and climb the wall'' which crops up in several Memphis recordings from this era. ''Don't Shoot Me Baby'' is an entertaining slice of honky tonk life in the same category as Carl Perkins' ''Dixie Fried''. All in all this is one of the rawest rockabilly discs of the era.

But just who was Bill Bowen. Extensive research has not turned up anyone of that name (in 2003), or the Wilbur J. Bowen who took songwriting credits. (See updates below about Bill Bowen). It is likely that the Rockets was the name Lester Bihari borrowed from the group Terry Johnson played at the time. Those Rockets comprised Charles Senn, Earl ''Peanut'' Montgomery, Jimmy Joe Fargo, and Eddie Goodwin from the Muscle Shoals area. None of them remember being on the Bowen disc, but they did record as the Escorts, the Fairlanes, and Donny Charles, among other names, for O J Records, Smash and other labels over the next years. In 1956, the Rockets were managed occasionally by a Tupelo, Mississippi entertainer named Bill Boren (not to be confused with Bill Bowen).

Boren's brother Charlie was the disc jockey on WELO radio who first introduced a young Elvis Presley to the public singing ''Old Shep''.Boren told Martin Hawkins ''I used to spend time with Terry Thompson back then. He was one of the finest guitar players I ever heard in my life. He could play left-handed as well as right. He came to live with me and my wife over in Tupelo around 1955 when he started to get into a little trouble at home with the drinking and smoking and so on. We were very close''.

01 - ''DON'T SHOOT ME BABY (I'M NOT READY TO DIE)'' - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Wilbur Bowen-Les Bihari
Publisher: - Meteor Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MR 5053
Recorded: - Unknown Date June 1956
Released: - 1956
First appearance: - Meteor Records (S) 45rpm Meteor 5033-A mono
DON'T SHOOT ME BABY (I'M NOT READY TO DIE) / HAVE MYSELF A BALL
Reissued: - 2003 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCH2 885-2-3 mono
THE COMPLETE METEOR ROCKABILLY & HILLBILLY RECORDINGS

Note: The Bill Bowen disc is the rarest Meteor release. It would cost some $3000, if you can find it.

02 - ''HAVE MYSELF A BALL'' - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Wilbur Bowen-Les Bihari
Publisher: - Meteor Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MR 5052
Recorded: - Unknown Date June 1956
Released: - 1956
First appearance: - Meteor Records (S) 45rpm Meteor 5033-B mono
HAVE MYSELF A BALL / DON'T SHOOT ME BABY (I'M NOT READY TO DIE)
Reissued: - 2003 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCH2 885-2-4 mono
THE COMPLETE METEOR ROCKABILLY & HILLBILLY RECORDINGS

Guitarist Terry Thompson was born in 1941 in Amory, Mississippi. When 12-year-old aspiring guitarist Billy Alsbrooks met him, Thompson was only 16 and already a local legend (having appeared on ''Raw Deal'' and on this disc). ''It was about 1957 and I first saw Terry playing in Russelville with Junior Thompson. He had a Gretsch hollow body electric guitar and he talked about Charlie Byrd, the jazz guitarist, all the time. When Terry Thompson was around, all the musicians in the area would come out to hear him play. Terry was a bit influence on everyone in Alabama. And they liked his stories, too. Terry would talk about playing in Memphis, the big city, and he told me about his guitar-playing friends like Reggie Young. They played together in Memphis for years. By around 1959, Terry was playing a Fender Stratocaster, and later on he had a Gibson Sunburst F-hole three-quartet body. He played progressive jazz along with rockabilly and country, and later on he could get very funky. He always had a very unique jazz feel to whatever he did. He was very serious about music, a natural, and that was his life''.

Unfortunately, Thompson was also very serious about something else. Reggie Young recalled, ''Terry had a real bad drinking problem. We would go to clubs in Memphis – like the Mitchell Club – and stay up all night to sit in and play with whoever we could, country blues or jazz. And Terry would be drinking all the time''.

Between drinks, Thompson found time to be an important member of the Fairlanes, the hot rocking group featuring Rick Hall, Randy Allen, Charles Senn, and Billy Sherrill, and the emerging Muscle Shoals music business. He was one of the important members of the Fame Studio session band and is best remembered for some hot guitar work there and for writing the Arthur Alexander song ''A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues''. Terry Thompson died on November 10, 1965, aged 24.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bill Bowen – Vocal & Guitar-playing
Terry Thompson - Guitar-playing

Probably The Rockets consisting of
Charles Senn - Guitar
Earl Montgomery - Bass
Jimmy Fago - Piano
Eddie Goodwin - Drums

For Biography of Bill Bowen see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Wilbur J. Bowen, also known as Bill Bowen, was a rockabilly singer who recorded around June 1956 his only one single at the Meteor studios in Memphis for Les Bihari's Meteor record label. On his Meteor single, Bowen was backed by the Rockets, a group consisting of Terry Thompson (Meteor session guitarist), rhythm guitarist Charles Senn, bass player Earl Montgomery, pianist Jimmy Fago, and drummer Eddie Goodwin. However, releasing "Don't Shoot Me Baby (I'm Not Ready To Die)" b/w "Have Myself A Ball" (Meteor 5033) on June 30, 1956, the record didn't sell well and Bowen vanished from the music scene.

Ray Harris stated in an interview shortly before his death that Bowen and Harris played together in a country band around Memphis in 1954. They also played together on a radio station outside of Memphis. Bowen reportedly also cut a country version of "Don't Shoot Me Baby" at the Sun Studios. The reissue LP "Memphis Bop" also credited Bowen with cutting "Two Timin' Baby", and the singer on this tape sounds very much like Bowen. His Sun recordings probably were made after he went to Meteor. Anyway, Bill Bowen remains one of the most obscure figures in rockabilly music.

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILL BOWEN
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS PROBABLY 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY JUNE 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

01 - "TWO TIMIN' BABY" - B.M.I. - 1:54
Composer: - Bill Bowen
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Demo - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably June 1956
Released: - 1999
First appearance: - Sun International (LP) 33rpm Boot 706 2 mono
MEMPHIS BOP - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 1999 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311-30 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16

This Sun demo session remained all the while in a musty tape box, most of the tape having been recorded over by Bill Justis when he produced a session with rhythm and blues singer Bill Pinkney.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bill Bowen - Vocal
Probably The Rockets consisting of
Charles Senn - Guitar
Earl Montgomery - Bass
Jimmy Fago - Piano
Eddie Goodwin - Drums

For Biography of Bill Bowen see: > The Sun Biographies <
Bill Bowen's Sun recordings can be heard on 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

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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 <
  
 

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