Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson
"WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS"
Composer: - William R. Emerson
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 139 - Master (3:10)
Recorded: - October 27, 1954 (Or September 18, 1954)
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 8, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single
SUN 214-B mono
WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS / MOVE BABY MOVE
- 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3-22 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Billy Emerson - Vocal and Piano
Bennie Moore - Tenor Saxophone
Luther Taylor - Trumpet
Charles Smith - Alto Saxophone
Elven Parr - Guitar
Robert Prindell - Drums
Marion Keisker remembered Elvis Presley coming
into the Sun studio asking if he could cover versions of the day's top hits. Sam Phillips had two good reasons for refusing: he didn't own the publishing and there were already enough versions competing for airplay. Thus, Phillips led Presley copyrights form
his Hi Lo Music catalog whenever possible. Among these was Billy Emerson's ''When It Rains It Pours'', recorded by Emerson three months after Presley's first session. Presley duly recorded it for Sun in November 1955, although it wasn't finished. During the
Million Dollar Quartet session in December 1956 Presley sung a couple of lines of ''When It Rains It Pours''. As the tape ran, he said he'd put it on an album if he could get a good enough cut. When Phillips asked if he had the record, Elvis asked for one.
Phillips said he'd go look, and you can bet he did. Elvis cut it in February 1957, but Phillips wouldn't gave up a piece of the music publishing so Elvis publishers, Hill & Range, prevailed upon RCA to sit on the master until 1965. Presley unfinished Sun
recording wasn't issued until 1983.
Emerson's record is by
no means overshadowed by Presley's. Talking to Stuart Colman in 1980, he recalled the song's origin. ''We came all the way down from Chicago to record this record. We brought some fellas, some musicians, all the way down, car broke down, rain storm - It rained
like water pouring out of a barrel, never seen it rain that hard... And you're talking about when it rains it pours, I sang that song from my heart that day''. Emerson went to describe how the car broke down and they stopped at a club they knew in Arkansas.
The owner drove them to Memphis the next day to make the session. By then, Emerson had the song written. The instrumental break is a beautiful moment in Sun rhythm and blues history. Emerson's cry of ''All right''! sets up Bennie Moore's powerful solo, beginning
with a tense sustained note. Moore was angry with Phillips for having to do so many takes and his frustration was vented here. Elven Parr's guitar had a fine dirty tone and his incessant chording ramped up the tension behind Moore. Emerson recorded the song
again in 1959 for Chess (although the tape was lost) and for Mad Records in 1960. On the latter occasion, he changed the slightly bizarre line ''You really opened up my nose'' to ''You really opened my door'', and wrote a very appealing bridge. (CE) (HD)