CONTAINS
For music (standard singles) and playlists on YouTube click on the available > buttons <
> Back 1957 Sun Schedule <

1957 SESSIONS (11)
November 1, 1957 to November 30, 1957

Studio Session for Johnny Cash, November 12, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Mack Vickery, November 20, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Ernie Chaffin, November 25, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Riley, November 25, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Cliff, Ed & Barbara Thomas, November 29, 1957 / 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 <

NOVEMBER 1957

Warren Smith and his band quit Stars Incorporated, and started booking through G.D. Kemper in Charlotte, North Carolina. "We worked with Sonny James, Gene Vincent and Lash Larue after Warren quit Bob", recalled Jimmie Lott. "Lash was a trip. No matter how much he drank - and that was as much as two fifths of Crown Royal before the show - he could handle a bullwhip like nothing I'd ever seen, although he never managed to persuade us to participate in his tricks. We went all through Canada with Lash and the coal mining districts in East Kentucky, playing on top of the concession stands at drive in movies". Kemper also booked Smith on the State Fair circuit, which kept them away from home for six months''.

Along the way, Kemper had the group set for an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show but Smith managed to alienate Kemper by booking his own gigs in Edgewood, Maryland.

Sun LP 1220 "Hot And Blue Guitar" by Johnny Cash is released. It is the first from the label in an intermittent and never consolidated approach to the album market. Albums by Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis are released during 1958.

Onie Wheeler records for Sun but the results are not issued until February 1959.

NOVEMBER 1, 1957 FRIDAY

By the time the Carl Perkins's single ''Glad All Over'' hit the market, Perkins had quit the Sun label. He and Johnny Cash had been approached in August 1, 1957 by Don Law from Columbia Records, who proposed that both artists move to Columbia. On this date, Johnny Cash signed a Columbia contract, but Carl Perkins sign a n agreement in principle, Carl Perkins was signed with Columbia, and the contract was dated January 25, 1958.

With the heady days of 1956 long gone, Carl Perkins faced an insuperable uphill battle to resur rect his career. He tried again to become a teen poet, writing or recording such songs as ''Pop Let Me Have The Car'' and ''Pink Pedal Pushers'', but they didn't sound nearly as convincing as the dark backwoods humor of ''That's Right''.

Faron Young and Marty Robbins have supporting roles with the debut of the western movie ''Raiders Of Old California''.

NOVEMBER 3, 1957 SUNDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis plays for the third time on The Steve Allen TV show on NBC-TV.

Jimmie Rodgers makes a return appearance on ''The Ed Sullivan Show'', performing ''Honeycomb'' and ''Kisses Sweeter Than Wine'' on the CBS program. Also in the lineup are Sam Cooke and Paul Anka.

The Everly Brothers recorded the Ray Charles-penned ''This Little Girl Of Mine''.

The singles, "Great Balls Of Fire" b/w ''You Win Again'' (Sun 281) by Jerry Lee Lewis and Sun 282, Dick Penner ''Your Honey Love'' b/w ''Cindy Lou'' issued. Sam Phillips designed a one-sheet and an ad to go with it announcing: ''SUN has its' own SATELLITE - THE BALL OF FIRE JERRY LEE LEWIS SINGING HIS FABULOUS NEW SUN RELEASE ''GREAT BALLS OF FIRE'' INTRODUCED TO THE NATION SUNDAY, NOV. 3 ON THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW''. Jerry Lee's single was released with a picture sleeve, along with an Extended Play 45 entitled ''Jerry Lee Lewis The Great Ball of Fire'', and earned a glowing lead review in Billboard, followed by a full-page ad replete with crude outer-space imagery and saluting the sensational success of Sun's very own Satellite on his rocketlike rise up the charts.

It was a moment of pure triumph for the company, but, not surprisingly, not everyone was in a celebratory mood. Carl Perkins for one was thoroughly disillusioned. Sam Phillips, he believed, had promised him the sun, the moon, and the stars, but nothing had gone right for him, really, since the automobile accident. His drinking was only getting worse, to the point that without acknowledging the fault he could recognize the shame. And it certainly didn't help to watch this strutting peacock, Lewis, that Sam Phillips was always going on about just sail right by him without so much as a backward glance. ''I tried to make him feel welcome and comfortable'', Carl later wrote of their first encounters, when it was carl who was the star, ''but he opened all them smart-aleck doors to start''.

The Sputnik 2 Satellite is successfully launched into orbit around the Earth by the USSR. The spacecraft was the second spacecraft successfully launched into Earth’s orbit and the first spacecraft to carry a biological being into space. Sputnik 2 carried Laika, a female dog, into space. Laika was provided with food, water, oxygen, a padded area and enough room to lay or stand and she was expected to live for up to ten days while Soviet scientists collected data on the effects of space on living beings. Unfortunately, it was believed that she only survived for two days due to problems with the thermal control system. The craft fell out of orbit and into Earth’s atmosphere in April of 1958. The U.S. did not put a satellite into orbit until January of 1958. By July of 1969 the U.S. would put the first man on the Moon.

NOVEMBER 4, 1957 MONDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis sings his latest release "Great Balls Of Fire'' on American Bandstand'' TV show, hosted by Dick Clark.''.

NOVEMBER 6, 1957 WEDNESDAY

''Maybelline'' songwriter Chuck Berry is served with an attest warrent for armed robbery when he plays St. Louis Kiel Auditorium. The next day, he shows police an out-of-town contract for the date, and the charges are dismissed.

Alyce King and Robert Clarke have a son, Cam Clarke, in Los Angeles. As a member of The King Sisters, Mom participated in a 1946 country hit, ''Divorce Me C.O.D.''.

NOVEMBER 8, 1957 FRIDAY

Martha Susan McEntire is born in Atoka, Oklahoma. The younger sister of Reba McEntire, she becomes better known during her adult years as Christian country singer Susie Luchsinger.

Elvis Presley plays a convict, as the movie ''Jailhouse Rock'' is released.

June Carter makes the first of two guest appearances on the ABC-TV show ''The Adventures Of Jim Bowie''.

After three years in show business, Chuck Berry makes his television debut lip-syncing his recording of rock and roll music on "American Bandstand".

NOVEMBER 11, 1957 MONDAY

Review in Billboard magazine says, ''Jerry Lee Lewis pours his all into ''Great Balls Of Fire'' (Sun 281) a rockabilly tune which he performs in the flick, Jamboree''. Side appears a strong bet to match the success of ''Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On''. The flip ''You Win Again'' is an appealing styling of Hank Williams's old hit that should also be a winner. Both sides figure in all markets''.

Ernest Tubb and The Wilburn Brothers recorded ''Hey, Mr. Bluebird'' in an evening session at the Bradley Recording studio in Nashville.

Elvis Presley performs on Veterans Day at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Ironically, it becomes his last show before his own induction into the Army.

Decca released the Webb Pierce and Kitty Wells duet, ''One Week Later''.

NOVEMBER 12, 1957 TUESDAY

The movie ''Jamboree'' previewed. Jerry Lee Lewis makes his film debut, singing ''Great Balls Of Fire''. Also in the picture, Fats Domino, Slim Whitman, Carl Perkins, Buddy Knox, Connie Francis, Jimmy Bowen, The Four Coins and Frankie Avalon.

Ernest Tubb recorded ''House Of Glass'' at the Bradley Film and Recording studio on Music Row in Nashville.

Songwriter Michael Garvin is born. He authors Conway Twitty's ''Desperado Love'', T.G. Sheppard's ''Only One You'', Michael Martin Murphey's ''From The Word Go'' and ''Tanya Tucker's ''Highway Robbery'', among others.

Johnny Cash recorded ''Big River'' and ''Ballad Of A Teenage Queen'' at the Sun studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

NOVEMBER 14, 1957 THURSDAY

Songwriter Gretchen Peters is born in Bronxville, New York. She writes such hits as Faith Hill's ''The Secret Of Life'', Martina McBride's ''Independence Day'', Patty Loveless' ''You Don't Even Know I Am'' and ''Pam Tillis' ''Let That Pony Run''.

NOVEMBER 15, 1957 FRIDAY

Billy Haley and His Comets make a rare television appearance on "The Big Record" on CBS-TV.

NOVEMBER 16, 1957 SATURDAY

Harold Traywick marries Bobbie Rose Tucker in Chesterfield, South Carolina. The relationship yields six children, including country singer Randy Travis.

Patti Page graces the cover of TV Guide.

NOVEMBER 16, 1957 SATURDAY

In The Cash Box music magazine published an ad about Bill Justis' new release at Phillips
International "Raunchy", that read:
PLEASE TAKE JUST A MINUTE:
IT WILL PAY BIG DIVIDENDS!!!

We at Phillips International and Sun Records have always tried to create, never copy. Why - because that is the essence and life of the music and record business.

We were fortunate enough to come up with what looks like one of the biggest records to hit the nation in modern times. We believe you know the record we are referring to. Now some uncouth and very unrealistic claims are being made as to "who has the hot" - Our answer to this is, we are willing to have you compare, if you haven't already, all records on it. But, more than that, we are happy to just wait till, the verdict of the record buying public is in!. Every major market in the country has put Bill Justis' version head and shoulders above the sale of all cover records combined! And the reports from distributors and disc jockeys all across the U.S., almost unanimously agree that "Raunchy" will probably be the biggest instrumental since the original version of T.D's "Boogie Woogie".

We view this reaction with real pride, because we know it can be a tremendous "shot in the arm" for instrumental music in months to come. This will add more of a balance and variety to the music business which has been so good to us all. Let us never become stereotyped and parasitic. The best in commercial music has yet to be discovered. Let's create - so as to continually find it.

Anyway, in this case, you can rest assured we know the best record will win - then we can all view the result together.

Appreciatively,
706 Union Avenue
Memphis, Tenn
U.S.A.

Phillips No. 3519

NOVEMBER 17, 1957 SUNDAY

Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps makes his first TV appearance on CBS' ''The Ed Sullivan Show'' sing "Lotta Lovin'" and "Dance To The Bop" . Traditional pop vocalist Georgia Gibbs also guests, performing ''Great Balls Of Fire''.

NOVEMBER 18, 1957 MONDAY

Sam Phillips had deep problem: his franchise act, Johnny Cash, was not only leaving the Sun label but refusing to bring any of his own songs to his remaining Sun sessions. Phillips put out the call to everyone on Sun's roster. Tommy Blake recorded a demo tape of songs that Johnny Cash might like to cut, and Cash recorded one of them, a cheerless ballad, ''Story Of A Broken Heart''. Sun later issued it as a single, but by then Sam Phillips had caught Blake in one of his many moments of need and bought the composer credit the song from him.

At this point, the notes in the frustratingly incomplete Sun files become impenetrably hard to follow. Tommy Blake was probably on this date back in Memphis. At the time, Sam Phillips paid Carl Adams, Eddie Hall, and Sun session drummer Jimmy M. Van Eaton. He also paid Blake another ten dollar advance on royalties. Was there another session on that day (and if so, what did he recorded?) or was Phillips settling up the single "Flat Foot Sam".

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY CASH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY NOVEMBER 12, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

OVERDUBBED SESSION: FRIDAY NOVEMBER 22, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT
MUSICAL DIRECTOR - BILL JUSTIS

After a brief break for that surgery, Johnny Cash reappeared at Sun in November. Jack Clement, convinced that the teenage market did not want to hear any more morbid sagas of the Old West, had written a teenoriented story song with an ending so sugary it could put a diabetic into a coma.

"Big River" is a classic performance and one of Cash's greatest achievements as a songwriter. From the opening "I laugh the weeping willow how to cry" and lines like "cavortin' in Davenport", Cash was on top form lyrically. This the outtake from this session, which is preceded by two false starts, is very rough but has its own charm. The Tennessee Two are aided by Jack Clement who plays the prominent acoustic guitar.

It also features the extra verse, that starts with "Now I rode into Natchez the next day down the river", that was dropped, probably due to timing, on the released version. Cash's handwritten lyrics have the comment "It's the only verse I could possibly drop without losing my story. Every time I sing "Big River" without it my heart goes out to Natchez, and my right foot goes out to Jack Clement".

Although "Big River" was one of his own compositions Cash had refused to supply any more new songs for the session preferring to keep his best material back for the first session with his new label Columbia, It was down to Jack Clement to source some new songs.

Obviously, this next track is a rough take with its share of timing problems and the usual assortment of Luther Perkins fluffs. But beyond the obvious miscues, just listen to these lyrics! An entire verse that appears here ("I rode into Natchez...") was dropped for the single release. There are some subtle changes as well. The famous drawl line ("It tore me up every time I heard her drawl, southern drawl") started life here in slightly different form, as you'll hear. Unfortunately, one of this version's great asides "Bat it down!" never made it to the single version.

01(1) - ''BIG RIVER" - B.M.I. - 3:43
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - 2x False Start - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-21 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-13 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

Johnny Cash had written one of his more upbeat songs for this session. "Big River" had taken shape after he had read a magazine article bearing the headline "Johnny Cash Has the Big River Blues in his voice". Clements acoustic guitar is here prominent, but Luther Perkins was also on hand with a typically simple and tasty lick. Cash obviously reveled in some of his own lines, like the one about "cavortin' in Davenport", and, in truth, the song could have been a very credible A side if Jack Clement had not been determined to inflict "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" on the world. "Big River" was banished to the flipside, although Shelby Singleton resurrected it as a successful A side after he bought the Sun catalog in 1969.

01(2) - "BIG RIVER" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 285 Master Take 2
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 283-B < mono
BIG RIVER / BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN
Reissued - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-10 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

"Big River" remains Johnny Cash's most explicit flirtation with rockabilly. It is a delight from start to finish, possessing both musical drive and integrity, as well as an uncommon lyrical flair. On the humorous side, there must have been a moment of disbelief back in early 1958 when Cash turned to Luther Perkins and said, "Ah, get goin' there". Luther get going? Fortunately, the instrumental break is as much rhythmic as musical and the band solos as a unit. Jack Clement still points to a careworn Martin guitar in his office, telling anyone who cares to listen that it was the guitar on "Big River". The lyrical reference to "cry cry cry", the title of Cash's first Sun Record, was a fine self referential in-joke. It is also a reminder that, much as this song has become a classic, it wasn't that far removed from the beginning of his career. Sun 283 was only Johnny Cash's sixth record. Cover versions of ''Big River'' recorded by Chip Taylor (1975); Grateful Dead (1975); Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson (1978); Gene Summers (1982); and the Beat Farmers (1987).

01(3) - "BIG RIVER" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: None - Take 3
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - Sun Unissued

02(1) - "BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-14 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

Around this time Jack Clement had started to experiment with the sound in an attempt to give material a more commercial, pop-oriented feel. As well as playing acoustic guitar on some of the tracks he added piano, drums, and a vocal chorus to certain tracks, including "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen". Clement recalled the song, "I wrote "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" for me to sing myself and actually did a tape, it was going to be a record and Sam was going to put it out''.

''It was like a Johnny Cash record, it had a vocal group on it and all those answer part. John came in and I played it for him and he loved it and wanted to record it which kina surprised me. I would play him stuff not necessarily to record just because he might enjoy it''.

''I always did that and he always did it for me and you'd be amazed at the songs Johnny Cash would sing that he never recorded like The Wiffenpoof Song, a bunch of Ink Spots songs, Mill Brothers songs and we'd sing a lot of that stuff together through the years. He liked to be entertained and he liked something funny and "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" was kinda funny, it was silly, it was a total fairytale. Sam hated it. He told me one time, a month or so before it was released, the more he listened to that the more he didn't like it. Everybody around the studio liked it and Miss Taylor next door, and her daughter Rosemary liked it and Sam put it out of course it was a big hit. But he never did liked it".

02(2) - "BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Count-In, Take 2 - Undubbed Master - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-22 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-15 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

Bill Justis arranged the music and he said, ''My job at Sun was titled 'Musical Director' and I did arrangements. For the most part the rhythm section couldn't read music so I did a lot of arranging. One of the first things I started doing was overdubbing. We only had mono then but I'd get the vocal and rhythm tracks down, and then try to get the orchestra and choral tracks on. The first thing we tried was ''Ballad Of A Teenage Queen'' by Johnny Cash''.

''I bought in a barbershop quartet and a church soprano ( Cyd Mostelle) and they had no blend at all they did sound commercial. The Sun Record Company was a colourful place. Mr. Phillips was the kinda man who had what you'd call a 'silver tongue', which is great if you want to sell something. He was able to take young artists and writers and tell them how great the business was and really inspire them. He inspired me, I know'', Justis said.

Justis continued, ''The studio we used on Union Avenue was not very advanced but for some reason it was a distinctive sound, probably because of the way Sam set it up originally. We had just two recorders and two tape echoes. No echo chambers, just slap-back through the machine. The company itself was almost totally devoid of any organization. The sessions were really funny. I remembers one day Johnny Cash came in to do a session and we needed a piano player so I went off to get Jim Wilson, who was really in need of the money at that time. I told him what I wanted, but he was a gun freak and he said, 'No man, I've just ordered myself a gun from the Army and Navy stores and I want to work on it'. He'd rather clean his gun and starve than come down and play some music. The whole place was crazy''.

02(3) - "BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 284 - Overdubbed Master* Take 2
Recorded: - November 12, 1957 - Overdubbed Session November 22, 1957
Released: - December, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 283-A < mono
BALLED OF A TEENAGE QUEEN / BIG RIVER
Reissued - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-9 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

"Ballad Of A Teenage Queen", it was arguably the worst song Johnny Cash cut at Sun, and would have been worse still if some of Clement's original couplets had stood unchallenged ("She was queen of the senior prom / She could cook just like her mom"). Luther Perkins sat out the song, and Jack Clement himself played the prominent acoustic guitar.

"Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" showed its first signs of life in Canada. Johnny Cash, booked on a Canadian tour, asked Sam Phillips how many copies of the record he could expect to sell in Canada. Phillips projected twelve to fifteen thousand. "The fifteen-day tour took us from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver", wrote Cash in 1980. "We filled every hall but, more than that, we sold over 100,000 singles".

"Dan Bass, the promo man for Quality Records (the Sun licensee in Canada) set up a Teenage Queen contest in every city. I flew into a new city each morning and did radio and television interviews. Then in the afternoon I signed records at record shop. My last promo appearance of the day, before the arrival of the Teenage Queen contestants, was to draw a name out of a box at a large department store's record counter and name the Teenage Queen and the runner up. One requirement to enter the contest was to prove the purchase of the record. I autographed hundreds and sometimes thousands of copies of that record in every city. During my concert that evening I crowned the queen and announced the first runner up. In the city Saskatoon, the Teenage Queen died tragically, leaving the runner up to be enthroned. That runner up was already writing songs and singing. Her name was Joni Mitchell".

You could spend an evening listening to all the outtakes of "Teenage Queen". You'd probably end up smirking at some of the cornier couplets Jack Clement came up with in his quest to siphon away some disposable income from middle America. For his part, Cash always insisted that he cut it under protest, but then, after years of refusing to do the song in concerts, he rerecorded it in 1987, finally reinstating one of Clement's lost couplets: "She was queen of the senior prom/She could cook just like her mom". The final product of the Sun session could have been a lot worse, and it is made infinitely more tolerable by the gem that appeared on its flipside.

Huddie Ledbetter/John Lomax composition "Goodnight Irene" was an effective track featuring an intimate vocal from Cash. In a rare moment Luther puts is electric guitar to one side and plays lead acoustic.

03 - "GOODNIGHT IRENE" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Huddie Ledbetter-John Lomax
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Overdubbed before release on LP 1275
Session held April 21, 1964, Phillips Studio,
639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Released: - 1964
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SLP 1275-3 (stereo)
ORIGINAL SUN SOUND OF JOHNNY CASH
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-16 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

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

After the session was over, Jack Clement and Sun's new musical director, Bill Justis, brought in a vocal chorus and an ear-rending soprano, Cyd Mosteller, who had sung with Justis' big band. Together, they dominate tire section of the record, carrying the narrative toward its inevitable and cloying conclusion.

Overdubbed Session
Cyd Mostelle - Lead Soprano
Asa Wilkerson - Vocal Harmony
Bill Abbott - Vocal Harmony
Don Carter - Vocal Harmony
Lee Holt - Vocal Harmony
Nita Smith - Vocal Harmony

 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 - ©

Nineteen years old and fresh out of Alabama (with a stop off in Michigan), Mack Willard Vickery landed in Memphis during November 1957 and promptly coerced Sun custodian, Stan Kesler, into arranging a demo session. The hormonal "Drive In" was one of his first attemps at songwriting - a craft that would hold him in good stead in time to come. During the interim he would have to humble down through a series of lighttouch singles made for Princeton, Gone, Jamie and far beyond.

STUDIO SESSION FOR MACK VICKERY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 20, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - STAN KESLER

01 - "DRIVE IN" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Mack Vickery
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 20, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16210-7 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT - VOLUME 14
Reissued: - 2002 Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-5-6 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002

Note: ''Drive In'' issued as ''Drivin''' on LP 1030.

02 - ''FOOL PROOF'' - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Mack Vickery
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None- Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 20, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030 mono
ROCKIN' ROLLIN' COUNTRY STYLE
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SNAJ 713 mono
THE SUN RECORDS STORY

03 - ''HAVE YOU EVER BEEN LONELY'' - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Mack Vickery
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None- Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 20, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030 mono
ROCKIN' ROLLIN' COUNTRY STYLE
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-6-11 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Mack Vickery - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Guitar/Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jimmy Smith - Piano

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ERNIE CHAFFIN
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY NOVEMBER 25, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

On this session Ernie Chaffin recorded one song called "Heart Of Me". it's a good song, one of Pee Wee Maddux's best pop-country efforts. True, it's got that one line about treating me "as dirt" which ain't a winner (there had to be better rhymes for "hurt"), but still... Everyone must have seen the merit in this. A different version came out on Fine as Ernie's lone single there, then he cut it on at least two occasions at Sun. Surprisingly, neither version saw daylight. There are some very country versions in the vault (featuring Pee Wee's fiddle) as well as others pointing firmly in the direction of pop music. Whatever the arrangement, it's a really catchy song - those opening 7 notes of the melody can burrow their way right into your memory.

01(1) - "THE HEART OF ME" - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Pee Wee Maddux
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30117-B-2 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 10 - SUN COUNTRY
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-P2 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - 2006 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16780-9 mono
ERNIE CHAFFIN - THE SUN YEARS

01(2) - "THE HEART OF ME" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Pee Wee Maddux
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16780-22 mono
ERNIE CHAFFIN - THE SUN YEARS

02 - ''I'LL WALK ALONE" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Jules Stein-Sammy Cahn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - FS, Slow Version - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-P3 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-5-12 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Here, Ernie Chaffin ventures into alien stylistic territory. While Ernie turns in a melodic ballad-like vocal performance the band offers a strongly contrasting shuffle blues. The backing track is anchored by brushwork from the drums and the piano but the highlight is the aggressive lead guitar. Ernie recallad, ''I thought we had a real good cut on ''I'll Walk Alone''. We left the studio thinking that it would be released but it never was''. Perhaps Sam Phillips and Jack Clement made the correct decision. It is interesting to hear tracks like this but, in the final analysis, Ernie's talent were best showcased in classic tracks like ''I'm Lonesome''.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ernie Chaffin - Vocal and Guitar
Sid Manker - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
Murphy "Pee Wee" Maddux - Fiddle
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jimmy Smith – Piano

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

NOVEMBER 25, 1957 MONDAY

Ralph Emery begins working as the all-night disc jockey on Nashville's WSM Radio.

LATE 1957

In November and December 1957, Charlie Terrell was in Memphis with Onie Wheeler supervising Wheeler's signing with Sun Records and the recording of his songs ''Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox'' and ''Tell 'Em Off''. Terrell had known Phillips for three years and the two had a good working relationship.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY RILEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY NOVEMBER 25, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - SAM C. PHILLIPS / RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

01(1) - "WOULDN'T YOU KNOW" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - John Marascalco
Publisher: - Robin Hood Music Company
Matrix number: - U 292 - Master
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - February 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 289-B < mono
WOULDN'T YOU KNOW / BABY PLEASE DON'T GO
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-22 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Those expecting Billy Riley's vocal to be a repeat of "Red Hot" or "Flying Saucer Rock And Roll" were stunned by his style on "Wouldn't You Know". At the time, few fans realized how much of a chameleon Riley truly was. Even the instrumental sound of "Wouldn't You Know" was a departure. Everything from chord structure to tempo was a departure from typical Riley-Sun fare. Yet it all worked, highlighted by Martin Willis' highly melodic sax solo.

01(2) - "WOULDN'T YOU KNOW" - B.M.I. - 3:15
Composer: - John Marascalco
Publisher: - Robin Hood Music Company
Matrix number: - Non - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1982
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm CFM 512-5 mono
THE SWINGIN' BLAST
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15444-2-9 mono
BILLY RILEY - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 – 1960

Billy Riley was unhappy with "Wouldn't You Know". "We should never have cut that record. It was something that we used to do on stage. It just wasn't a good record". In the absence of Ronald Janes, Billy Riley plays lead guitar and the solo spots are taken by Martin Willis' tenor sax. However, the highlight of the recording is Jimmy Wilson's ringing piano accompaniment. Note Riley's imitation of Jerry Lee Lewis' lascivious "Mmmm's".

''WOULDN'T YOU KNOW''

This comes from the pen of John Marascalco, an unlikely source for Sun material. We may never know exactly how this song found its way to Riley. On at least one occasion, Riley commented that Marascalco had "written the song, for me". The truth takes a less personal but more interesting path. Sometime in 1955, promoter Bob Neal suggested to Marascalco that he look into securing a booking for Elvis in Grenada, Mississippi, Marascalco's home town. On April 20, 1955 Elvis played the American Legion Hall there and during a backstage chat, Marascalco, a then-aspiring songwriter, played Elvis a song he had recently completed called ''Rip It Up''. Elvis liked it a lot and told Marascalco to talk to Sam Phillips who, according to the singer, had final say in what was recorded. Marascalco drove up to Memphis and met with Phillips who turned down the song ("We want to take Elvis in another direction'', Marascalco recalls Phillips telling him), but Phillips did encourage the songwriter to keep submitting material.

Marascalco took Phillips up on his offer, and one of the demos he sent to Sun included ''Wouldn't You Know''. The disc presumably sat in the vicinity of Sam Phillips' office, drawing occasional interest from Phillips and his stable of singers. Eventually, and we can't know how long it took, it caught Billy Riley's attention. It may have been love at first hearing - there's no way to tell at this point. In any case, Riley became adamant about recording Marascalco's tune, even though it was some distance from the style in which working.

Phillips gave the project the green light, perhaps in an attempt to pacify Riley, who by then had become incensed at Phillips for his lack of promotion of Riley's last two singles (''Flying Saucer Rock And Roll'' and ''Red Hot'').

By the time Riley got around to recording the song, Marascalco had become a national success story with hit records like ''Ready Teddy'', ''Good Golly Miss Molly'', ''Goodnight My Love'', and ''Send Me Some Lovin'' Elvis had gotten around to recording ''Rip It Up'' , the tune that Marascalco pitched to him back in April, 1955 and that Little Richard took to the top 20 in June 1956, along with the flipside of the Little Richard record, Marascalco's ''Ready Teddy'', for his second RCA album. In fact, Elvis had already performed ''Ready Teddy'' in his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan TV show in September 1956. Sam Phillips was by now so resigned to releasing Marascalco's song that he never protested the fact that Marascalco retained both the composer and the publishing share of the song. "Robin Hood Music was mine'', Marascalco proudly proclaims today. Did Phillips put up a fight over the publishing? "He never mentioned a word'', Marascalco confirms.

Most of Riley's fans neither knew nor cared about these backstories back in late 1957 or the start of 1958 when ''Wouldn't You Know'' appeared on Sun 289. However, Riley's fans, certainly those who had come to him from ''Flying Saucer Rock And Roll'' and ''Red Hot'', didn't know what to make of this latest single. Many of them were, to put it mildly, underwhelmed. After all, Riley had shed his raucous, Little Richard vocal chops and the song did not rock along in Riley's customary groove.

This is by far the most melodic and musically complex song Riley had recorded for Sun to date. Martin Willis' sax solo leaves little doubt that Riley had found a completely different style with this record. And by the way, the Sun Records Discography has it wrong: That's Jimmy Wilson on piano, not James 'Luke' Paulman. Paulman, discussed later in these notes, was a guitar player. It's a lot easier to appreciate the sophistication of this track a half a century later even if, back in the day, few of us were beating down the doors of our local record store.

In their liner notes to BCD 15444, Rob Bowman and Ross Johnson quote Billy Riley as saying that he was unhappy with ''Wouldn't You Know''. "We should have never have cut that record. It was something that we used to do on stage. It just wasn't a good record''. It is hard to reconcile. Riley's words with his statement elsewhere that his live performances of the era typically consisted of the dart's biggest hits, rather than his own records. So why include ''Wouldn't You Know'' on stage? It not only wasn't a hit, but it had yet to be recorded by anyone else.

Riley may have grown not to like the record over the years (poor sales can do that), but it's hard to imagine that's how he felt at the time. Moreover, if he truly didn't like the recording, then whose insistence drove its release?

The only alternate take of ''Wouldn't You Know'' that has survived reveals a completely different approach to the song. In fact, its barely the same song. Alternate Take 1 strips the song of all of its melodic advantages and forces it into a routine 12-bar blues structure. Putting it bluntly, if this is what the song originally sounded like, why bother to pay Marascalco or Robin Hood Music for the composition? Riley and the boys could crank out one of these concoctions in their sleep. Somewhere between this early take (Alternate Take 1) and Sun 289, this baby came to life. You may not have liked it back then, but what this became showed some distinction as well as some melodic flair. That's the kind of stuff you pay a publisher for. Sam Phillips must have agreed. Never one to piss away publishing revenue, he nevertheless agreed to issuing this outside composition.

Sax player Martin Willis has suggested that this was not an alternate take in the conventional sense, but rather an informal run-through of the title prior to recording. Willis claims that the tape was occasionally running under such circumstances with Jack Clement in the studio and Alternate Take 1 might have been the result of exactly such circumstances.

John Marascalco and Billy Riley finally did cross paths, although not until the singer had left Sun Records and moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s. "We finally got to know each other back then'', Marascalco recalls. ''Toward the end of of his life, after he went back to Arkansas, Billy recorded another one of my songs. He sent me a CD of 'Blue Collar Blues and it had 'Back Door Sally''' on it''.

''BABY PLEASE DON'T GO''

This is a remarkably simple song. Its got one chord, uncomplicated lyrics that don't tell a story, and a tune that you won't be whistling for days after you hear it. But it has great intensity, and its adaptable to a wide variety of musical arrangements. Under this title, the song goes back to Big Joe Williams'' 1935 record (Bluebird B-6200). Williams himself recut it twice during the 1940s. And since then it's been recorded by (among many others), Muddy Waters, Lightnin Hopkins, Mose Allison, Bob Dylan, the Animals, Them, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Beausoleil, AC/DC, John Mellencamp; Webb Wilder, Aerosmith, and most recently (2010) Lorenza Ponce. Billy Riley did it at Sun (he took writer's credit on Sun 289) and again on his 1965 Mercury album, 'Whisky A Go Go Presents Billy Lee Riley' (MG 20985). On that latter appearance, the song was credited to Jimmy Reed who, so far as we know, never sang it.

Billy Riley greased up this next old blues standard to suit his sandpapered larynx and with Roland Janes away on tour backing up Jerry Lee Lewis, he played lead guitar himself. The cornerstone of his arrangement was a muted riff in the verse, which is mighty close to a similar deal on Gene Vincent's "Dance To The Bop" - a hit single at the time. Inspired though it was, the record's sales didn't elevate Riley's status any higher in the company pecking order.

02(1) - "BABY PLEASE DON'T GO" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Billy Riley
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 293 - Master
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - February 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 289-A < mono
BABY PLEASE DON'T GO / WOULDN'T YOU KNOW
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-21 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

"Baby Please Don't Go" is much successful. James M. Van Eaton opens it with an atmospheric shuffle augmented by Riley's girlfriend banging two drumsticks together. Riley plays the electric lead on a Bird land guitar and uses his raspy voice in marked contrast to the smoother 'A' side. Riley felt that the absence of Sam Phillips from the studio had a noticeable effect. "We weren't as comfortable in the studio with Jack at the controls. Sam was always coming around and listening. He was in there making you feel good''.

''He'd say like 'OK man, that was great. Gimme more black in it'. Jack never been happy with a cut on anything he's ever done. Sam knew when the record was cut". The record that would supposedly fulfill Riley's promise was released in February 1958. By June it had sold a dismal 3210 copies.

Riley's vocal and guitar work on "Baby Please Don't Go" was closer to expectations. There is a considerable tension to this record; it feels just on the verge of breaking free. Riley sings and plays with restraint, yet there is an unmistakable edge to his performance. Its a fine recording.

Billy Riley spent too much of his Sun career eclipsed by Jerry Lee Lewis. The story has often been told of how "Red Hot" was held back in order to focus Sun's meager promotional and pressing resources on "Great Balls Of Fire". What is often overlooked is the fact that this cycle of neglect continued with Sun 289. While perhaps not as commercial as "Red Hot", this recording was similarly overwhelmed by Jerry Lee's latest (Sun 288). Again. Riley was relegated to the back burner and watched this single sell barely over 3000 copies. It was at this point that Billy Riley quit Sun and went off looking for greener pastures. He never found them and would soon return to the familiar confines of 706 Union.

02(2) - "BABY PLEASE DON'T GO" - B.M.I. - 1:07
Composer: - Billy Riley
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Incomplete Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-2 mono
BILLY RILEY – THE OUTTAKES

We present a fragment of an alternate take here - all that is known to exist other than the released version. This version begins during Martin Willis' sax solo and continues to the end. It's clearly from the same session as the master and sounds similar in every way, although Jimmy Van Eaton's drumming coming out of the guitar solo is a bit more assertive than on the released version.

The entire song is performed over a repetitive background riff that is almost identical to the one played during the verses in Gene Vincent's ''Dance To The Bop'' (Capitol 3839). ''Baby Please Don't Go'' was recorded only one week after Vincent's record was released. Vincent's riff may itself have been inspired by the figure in Fats Domino's ''I'm Walkin'' (Imperial 5428), which was high on the clans nine months earlier. The complete released version of ''Baby Please Don't Go'' opens with the simple repetitive background figure played first by the bass, then as a duet with the guitar and finally with another guitar line making it into a trio. That build-up of a background riff from solo-line to trio also starts the Cleftones' record ''Little Girl Of Mine'' (Gee 1011). They say imitation is the sincerest from of flattary.

Speaking of imitation, Billy adopts a distinctive vocal style on this song, more obviously on the released master than on this alternate. He combines his raspy voice with an end-of-line squeal. What might be the source of that vocal gimmick? Fans of vintage rhythm and blues and old-time rock and roll will recognize it as a trademark Little Richard trick, appearing on rockers like ''Tutti Frutti'' (Specialty 561) and showing up even more prominently on ballads like ''Send Me Some Lovin'' (Specialty 598).

Reportedly, Billy's record sold fewer than 3000 copies, further inspiring him to leave Sun, however briefly, and look for greener pastures.

03 – "DANCE WITH ME HONEY, OH TONIGHT (ROCK WITH ME BABY)"* - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Billy Riley- Ronald Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - PhonoGram Records (LP) 33rpm 6467 025-9 mono
SUN ROCKABILLYS - VOLUME 1 - PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCED 15444 BH-2-8 mono
BILLY RILEY - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1960

* - Incorrectly titled ''Rock With Me Baby'' in previous discographies.

04 - "THAT'S RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Winfield Scott
Publisher: - Chappell Music Limited
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30131-10 mono
SUN THE ROOTS OF ROCK VOLUME 8 - SUN ROCKS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15444-2-10 mono
BILLY RILEY - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1960

05 – "SEARCHIN'" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30115-B3 mono
SUN THE ROOTS OF ROCK VOLUME 8 - SUN ROCKS
Reissued: - 1991 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15444-2-11 mono
BILLY RILEY - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1960

06 - "CHATTER AND COLLEGE MAN" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CDX 9 mono
RED HOT RILEY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15444-2-12 mono
BILLY RILEY - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1960

07 - "YOUR CASH AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT TRASH" - B.M.I. - 0:58
Composer: - Charles Calhoun
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CDX 9-24 mono
RED HOT RILEY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15444-2-13 mono
BILLY RILEY - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1960

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Pat O'Neill - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
James Paulman - Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Bill Justis - Saxophone

Billy Riley stayed on at Sun Records until sometime in 1958 when his growing frustration with Sam Phillips putting all (or most) of his promotional resources behind Jerry Lee Lewis and not Billy Lee got the best of him. Several volatile encounters between Sam and Riley occurred. Riley recalled, ''Sam Phillips and I both had respect for each other, but we didn't get along too well at times. Mostly it was just words, but I did get a little riled one time and tore his studio up a little''.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

NOVEMBER 27, 1957 WEDNESDAY

Bill Haley and His Comets sing "You Hit The Wrong Note'' Billy Goat on "American Bandstand".

NOVEMBER 28, 1957 THURSDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis performs ''Great Balls Of Fire'' on American Bandstand.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CLIFF, ED & BARBARA THOMAS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1958

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY NOVEMBER 29, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

This recordings by the Jackson, Mississippi-based brother, sister, and brother team of Cliff, Ed and Barbara Thomas appeared in the second mailing of PI releases (the first five singles had gone out together four months earlier). Wisely, Sam Phillips waited until much of the reaction to Bill Justis' "Raunchy" had died down before releasing this efforts. Its hard to know whether Sun had a national market in mind when these sides were shipped. Like Ricky Nelson, the Thomasses had a TV show (although they didn't go coast-to-coast) and were guaranteed intense exposure for teen hreartthrob Cliff. A casual glance at the wholesome Thomas siblings gathered around the piano is not going to trigger the same response as watching Gene Vincent and the Bluecaps, but the truth is that Cliff, Ed and Barbara made some surprisingly good music. If nothing else, they were listening to (and absorbing) the right sources. But unlike their labelmate Johnny Carroll, they were not borrowing them literally.

01 - "I'M ON MY WAY HOME" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 312 - Master
Recorded: - November 29, 1957
Released: - January 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm standard single > PI 3521-B < mono
I'M ON MY WAY HOME / TREAT ME RIGHT
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

"I'm On My Way Home" is better than it has a right to be. There's not a wasted note here, from Ed's powerful bluesy piano, to Cliff's socko vocal, to the minimal and effective choral work by Ed and Barbara. You could easily mistake the first eight bars here for a Fats Domino record until the vocal jumps in and takes this outing into its own original territory. There are touches of both Fats and Jerry Lee in Ed Thomas' piano but, ultimately, he's his own man. Although this production is decidedly minimalist, it is also competent and slick.

02 - "TREAT ME RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 1:58
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 311 - Master
Recorded: - November 29, 1957
Released: - January 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm standard single > PI 3521-A < mono
TREAT ME RIGHT / I'M ON MY WAY HOME
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

The debt to Fats is even more explicit on "Treat Me Right" (not to be confused with the Elvis tune "Treat Me Nice" from the same year). They're plainly pushing the limits of Cliff's very teenage vocal equipment here, but the track still works largely because of Ed's powerful piano. Everything about the vocal and choral work just exudes blues, yet it remains original and melodic (just listen to the last four bars). can you imagine how trite this kind of white brother and sister trio might have been if these sides had been recorded in New York or Los Angeles.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ed Thomas Jr. - Vocal and Piano
Cliff Thomas - Vocal and Guitar
Barbara Thomas - Vocal
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Sid Manker - Guitar
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 

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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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