1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CDX 17 mono
CARL MANN - THE ROCKING MAN
In 1959, just when all the original rock and roll sounds of Sam Phillips Sun Records were fading, Carl Mann came along to provide a new approach. Mann was a teenager from rural Tennessee with a background in country music and
one raw rockabilly disc on an obscure label behind him. He had a distinctive voice, a rhythmic piano style, and a tight backing combo with memorable stylings by W.S. Holland on drums and Eddie Bush on guitar.
The first of seven Carl Mann 45s and one album appeared on Phillips International in 1959. The second was ''Mona Lisa'' It became a pop hit and helped carry the Sun/Phillips International legend into the 1960s.
''I was given the rockabilly tag, back then'', Carl told me. ''That was what the disc jockeys meant by hillbilly music with a rocking beat. But I like to think that we added a little to
the normal rockabilly thing. We had our own style and our own sound''. That style and sound was forged in the Jackson area of Tennessee during the mid-1950s when Carl left his background in country music for a brief stay in the Jimmie Martin Combo and then
went on to form a new band, the Kool Kats, with guitarist Eddie Bush. Finally, he teamed up with drummer W.S. Holland – a member of the successful Carl Perkins band on Sun who had now quit to return home. Holland's rhythmic drumming was the final piece
in the jigsaw, complementing Mann's style and allowing Eddie Bush to take off on stratospheric guitar licks.
After Carl Mann and Eddie Bush had tried several times to
audition at Sun, it was W.S. Holland influence that finally gained the ear of Sam Phillips at the tail end of 1958. Sam wrote on the first demo tape, ''W.S. Holland's group''. Phillips had reviewed the band with both Eddie Bush and Carl singing, but the thing
that really caught his ear was a rocking version of the popular standard song ''Mona Lisa''.
Looking back on that first demo session, Sam Phillips is still of the same
view:''As I recall, Carl Mann and Eddie Bush had worked up this version of ''Mona Lisa'' that took its basis in the sound that Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis had given me but which was more ''arranged''. What I mean is that Eddie had this real unusual way
of styling on his guitar solo and, more importantly, on his fills. He had his own way of playing, though we recorded it with a lot of tremolo effect which was really an extension of what we had done with Roland Janes on records by Billy Riley and Jerry Lee
Lewis. Apart from Eddie's guitar, the Carl Mann band had it worked so that W.S' drum rolls were quite well upfront too. Plus, Carl's singing and piano playing had a real ''swing'' to it. A rocking swing. Put that together with the appealing nature of the tune
and ''Mona Lisa'' was always going to be a contender''.
''However, Carl Mann had been around us for a little while, trying out different things. He was accomplished in
several different styles and we had been undecided quite which song to go with. We knew Carl could make it, but we hadn't finalized the song for his first release. Then when Conway Twitty showed interest in ''Mona Lisa'' and we learned the he had cut if for
MGM, we decided there was value in going with that song. We didn't see why we should work up a new sound just to have someone else use it. And we outsold MGM on that record''
was sorry that Carl didn't go to be a top seller in the long term. He had several things going for him – some good selling follow up discs like ''Pretend'' and ''I'm Coming Home''. I guess, looking at it now, we used the oldies theme a little too often
but, then, in the 1960s the music scene was changing so there is no telling what would have happened anyway. We had a parting of the ways and Carl went into the forces, and that was that''.
''But I'm proud of the music we made with Carl Mann. He had a very clear voice that we recorded prominently and he had an edge – a ''bun'' to his voice that was recognizable. He was a very young man, 16 or so, and he achieved a hell
of a deal before he was twenty. Hat's something to be proud of'''.
Looked a superficially from the distance of 25 years, it is easy to decide that Carl Mann's contribution
to rock and roll was simply that of applying the Sun sound to a string of oldies. Don't make that mistake, Carl Mann and his band gave us a lot more that that. They were a band with an almost unique rhythm and a memorable lead guitar style. Carl's voice was
both powerful and expressive. He could play rockabilly, blues or popular ballads equally well. His Phillips International recordings have an infectious rhythm and swing that make then some of the most original and enjoyable in rock and roll.
by Martin Hawkins
at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, 1959.
Carl Mann (vocal and piano), Eddie Bush (guitar), Robert Oastvall (bass), and W.S. Holland (drums).
Recorded at 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, 1960.
Carl Mann (vocal and piano), Eddie Bush (guitar), Robert Oastvall (bass), and W.S. Holland (drums)
Plus Charlie Rich (piano), Scotty Moore (guitar), R.W. Stevenson (bass), and Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums) on some titles.
at 7th Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee, 1961.
Carl Mann (vocal) Hargus Robbins (piano), Kelton Herston (guitar), Bob Moore (bass), and Murray Harmon (drums).
Recorded at 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, 1962.
Carl Mann (vocal)Eddie Bush (guitar), R.W. Stevenson (bass), and Al Jackson (drums).
The original session information is no longer available for some of Carl Mann's Phillips International recordings. Where it is available, the position was complicated by the use of overdubs
and by the re-recording of the same song on several different occasions. The complete story is still being pieced together with Carl Mann's assistants for inclusion in the revised Complete Session Discography, available from Redneck Music,18 Greystones Road,
Bearstad, Maidstone, Kent.
Record 1 Side 1 Contains
1.1 - Mona Lisa
1.2 - Foolish One
1.3 - Pretend
1.4 - Rockin' Love
1.5 - Some
1.6 - I Can't Forget You
1.7 - South Of The Border
1.8 - I'm
Original Sun Recordings
Record 1 Side 2 Contains
- Baby I Don't Care (Vocal Eddie Bush)
2.2 - Vanished (Vocal Eddie Bush)
2.3 - Wayward Wind
- Born To Be Bad
2.5 - I Ain't Got No Home
2.6 - If I Could Chance You
2.7 - Mountain
2.8 - When I Grow Too Old To Dream
Original Sun Recordings
2 Side 3 Contains
3.1 - Baby I Don't Care
3.2 - I'm Bluer Than Anyone Can Be
- Walkin' And Thinkin'
3.4 - It I Ever Needed Love
3.5 - Stop The World
3.6 - Don't
Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes
3.7 - Look At That Moon
Original Sun Recordings
Record 2 Side 4 Contains
4.1 - Too Young
4.2 - Because Of You
- Ain't You Got No Lovin' For Me
4.4 - Kansas City
4.5 - Blueberry Hill
4.6 - Walkin'
4.7 - Ubangi Stomp
4.8 - Mona Lisa (2)
Original Sun Recordings
Compiled and annotation by Martin Hawkins.
Designed by the Raven Design Group.
compilation by Alan Combes.
Information courtesy of Carl Mann, Robbie Robison, Sam Phillips, and Colin Escott.
Photography courtesy Carl Mann,
Dave Travis, Sun International Corporation, Colin Escott.
Licensed from Sun International Corporation, Nashville.
Original Sun Recordings.
Licensed from Charly Records International APS.
This compilation 1987 Charly Holdings Inc. 1987.
Records Ltd. 1987.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©