Sun Records Compact Disc Reissues

Walter ''Mumbles'' Horton - Mouth Harp Maestro (CDCH 252) Walter Horton
Strange Kind Of Feelin' (AA-701) Various Artists
Mystery Train (CD SS 38) Junior Parker, James Cotton, Pat Hare
The Sun Masters (CD SS 35) Little Milton
You Drive Me Crazy (CLCD4412) Ray Scott
The Sun Records Collection (R271780) Various Artists
Red Hot & Blue (MA7016) Dewey Phillips
Love My Baby (270131) Hayden Thompson 
The Very Best Of Frank Frost - Big Boss Man (COL CD 5921) Frank Frost
The Best Of The RPM Years (CDCHD 694) Rosco Gordon
The Very Best Of Bill Justis - Raunchy (COL-CD-6018) Bill Justis
The Original Memphis Blues Brothers (CDCHD 265) Various Artists
The Legendary Sun Records Story (PBX CD 336) Various Artists
Boogie In The Park (CDCHD 803) Joe Hill Louis
The Modern Downhome Blues Sessions - Volume 3
Memphis On Down (CDCHD 1003) Various Artists

Memphis Beat - The Sun Recordings (CDWIKD 267) Randy & The Radiants
Mississippi Honky Tonk Rockabilly Man (STCD 24) Luke McDaniel
Cadillac Men The - Sun Masters (CDWIKD 282) The Jesters
Gotta Rock Tonight (RDTCD 150) Mack Allen Smith
The Singles 1951 - 1960 (JASCD 564) Bobby Bland
From Memphis To Hollywood - Bootleg Volume 2 (88697 60051 2) Johnny Cash
The Memphis Cuts 1953 - 1956 (JSP4239) Doctor Ross
Sun's First Boogie-Woogie Country Man! (ETCD 1071) Smokey Joe Baugh
 For Biographies of Artists (See: The Sun Biographies)
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on YouTube < click
© 1988 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCH 252 mono digital

Long before he arrived in Chicago, Walter Horton was knocking 'em dead with his amplified harmonica wizardry in Memphis. Sam Phillips produced the classic sides that comprise much of this album in 1951, when Horton was billed as "Mumbles''. Sizzling backup by guitarists Joe Hill Louis and Calvin Newborn urged the introverted harp giant on to dazzling heights on his earliest sides as a leader. The 16 tracks from 1951 featured "Jumpin' Blues", "Black Gal" and "Hard Hearted Woman" and 6 alternate takes principally recorded in Memphis, Tennessee in 1951. Includes booklet with liner notes and discography by Ray Topping.
All the recordings on this collection were made direct to acetate lacquers, and a great deal of restoration work has been done, including cleaning and remastering. Nevertheless, you may discern surface noise on some titles.

The world of post-war blues harmonica was wide and varied and many names go to make up the story: the two Sonny Boys, Junior Wells, Snooky Pryor, George Smith, Papa Lightfoot and Slim Harpo. However, two artists that stood way out in front and could not be challenged were Little Walter (Jacobs) and Big Walter Horton. These gifted musicians transformed the whole concept of harmonica playing and they pioneered the electronically amplified harmonica during the forties.

Their amazing virtuosity changed the role of the instrument from a solo one to a band instrument and they did for the harmonica what Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young had done for the tenor sax in jazz, shaping their harmonica blues tones into breath-taking instrumental solos.

The harmonica, or French harp as it was known in the south, had been a staple instrument in the rural southern states and was widely used by black and white musicians alike, from cornball hillbillies of Appalachia, to wandering minstrels, and jug bands of the delta. Even a negro, Deford Bailey, featured the harmonica on the snowy-white Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for many years.

Little Walter met Walter Horton in Memphis during the 1940s where they exchanged ideas. Little Walter later left for Chicago where he joined Muddy Waters' band and later went on to stardom as a solo performer on Checker Records. Horton subsequently made his move to Chicago some years later, but not before he made some classic sides at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service.

Walter Horton was born on the April 6, 1918, in the Desoto County town of Horn Lake, which is just south of Memphis in Mississippi. While a child his family moved to Memphis, where his father, Albert, looked for work. The young Walter was given a harmonica when he was five, and by his teens he was playing on the street for pennies. His health meant he had to give up various back-breaking jobs such as icehauling and he began scuffling around for a living, opting for a career in music. He made his first trip to Chicago in 1937, and on his return to Memphis he began hanging around with musicians like Jack Kelly and Little Buddy Doyle at Handys Park on Third and Beale Street. It has been reported that he played harp on a 1939 recording date with Buddy Doyle for Vocalion.

Throughout the 1940s Horton perfected his harp playing technique and worked the Delta juke joints with Floyd Jones and Honey Boy Edwards.

With the boom in postwar rhythm and blues recording, Memphis became a hotbed of recording activity by the early 1950s. The city was overflowing with talent and many of the top artists in the blues - including B.B. King, Rosco Gordon, Howling Wolf, Ike Turner, Bobby Bland and Johnny Ace - got their start in the city. The indie labels from outside of town began making inroads into the city looking for talent. Modern Records, based in California was one of the first to recognise the potential of the city.

In January 1950, Sam Phillips opened his own studio, The Memphis Recording Service, on 706 Union Avenue and began to record local blues talent, including Joe Hill Louis, Lost John Hunter and Phineas New- born Jr. At that time the Bihari brothers of Modern Records were in town to oversee the recording sessions of B.B. King, who had recently signed to their label. B.B. King's first recordings were cut at The Memphis Recording Service. Subsequently the Biharis made a deal with Phillips where he would ship finished blues masters to their Hollywood office for approval. Throughout the following two years Phillips mailed many auditions of various blues acts to Modern. In early 1951 Phillips recorded Walter Horton. It has been reported that he went down to Handys Park and brought both Horton and Jim Lockhart back to his studio, where he recorded sample auditions for the Biharis.

During subsequent weeks he cut further sessions with Horton, who was accompanied by Joe Hill Louis on guitar and drums, and possibly a dancer with bottle tops on his boots, producing a novel clickety-clack effect. An unknown pianist is just audible on ''Little Boy Blues'' and ''I'm In Love With You Baby''. From these first sessions the Biharis selected ''Little Boy Blues'' and ''Now Tell Me Baby'' for Horton's first release on Modern 20-809. On the labels he was credited as "Mumbles".

Phillips got Horton back to the studio in June 1951. This time he had assembled a new set of musicians with a meatier, electric sound, and the four sides cut on this date were underpinned by Calvin Newborn's amplified guitar, which almost dominated the session. The piano was supplied by Phineas Newborn Jr. and Willie Nix may be the drummer. From this session the Biharis issued ''Black Gal'' and ''Jumpin' Blues'' on their subsidiary label, RPM 338.

The remaining unreleased Horton sides didn't see the light of day until 1969 and the early 70s when they were issued on collections on Kent and Polydor, although bad remastering didn't do the sides justice.

While transferring ''Blues In The Morning'' we noticed the acetate had another take of this number, not listed on the label. This take of the song is probably not Horton on vocal and harmonica, and this gave rise to the theory that musicians would gather around the studio when Phillips was holding sessions and would be given the chance to audition, even on the numbers that were currently being recorded.

The real sensation was finding an alternative take of ''Now Tell Me Baby'', which is quite different from the released version on Modern 20-809. This features the legendary guitarist Willie Johnson, whose choked guitar figure is musically better than the released version. Maybe Phillips was looking for diversity, trying out new arrangements and riffs. Sadly we could not use both versions because the released master take is irreparably damaged. However, it is available on a Memphis Blues collection on Nighthawk LP 105.

Also on album for the first time is an alternative of the magnificent ''Little Boy Blues'', and two takes of 'What's The Matter With You' from his earliest session and best of all you can now hear clearly, for the first time, the wonderful instrumental 'Cotton Patch Hot Foot'.

After a disagreement with Modern, Sam Phillips continued recording Horton for his own Sun label with Jack Kelly and Jimmy DeBerry. In 1953 he released the magnificent ''Easy'' (Sun 180). However by this time Horton had left Memphis for good and relocated in Chicago where he started a new career working and recording in the bands of Johnny Shines, Jimmy Rogers and Muddy Waters.

Horton subsequently recorded solo sides for United and Cobra, and by the 1960s he was acting as a regular sideman for dozens of dates with Johnny Young, Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Shines and Robert Nighthawk. He also appeared on a string of albums under his own name for Argo, Decca, Red Lightning, Sire, Delta and Alligator and through the 1960s and 1970s he was a frequent visitor to European shores, appearing with the American Folk Blues Festival and with the Chicago Blues All Stars. He died in Chicago on December 8, 1981.

Jim Lockhart & Alfred Harris Recordings

Jim Lockhart, the mysterious Memphis cohort of Joe Hill Louis and Horton, makes his first appearance on wax with ''Boogie Woogie Boogie''. This previously unreleased master was cut by Sam Phillips about the same time as the Horton sides. Lockhart plays an amplified acoustic guitar which produces an eerie gutbucket sound. He is accompanied by an unknown washboard player and percussionist hitting spoons, or a cowbell - could it be members of a Memphis jug band? 'These Lockhart masters were perhaps too down-home for release by the Biharis at the time.

Lockhart cut about 3 sides on this session, although the remaining tracks were so badly damaged that they could not be used on this collection. Lockhart apparently hung out at Handys Park with Jack Kelly, Horton and Joe Hill Louis. Dewey Corley recalls in Bengt Olsson's "Memphis Blues", "In the late 1940s I played with Joe Hill Louis and Lockhart for a dance in Arkansas; right after that we played for some white people in East Memphis''. Also Willie Borum recalled in 1969 "I saw Lockhart the other day, he works catching dogs down around Beale now, they said he was Joe Hill's brother, but I don't know. At least they were close as brothers''.

The remaining sides are by the equally enigmatic Alfred "Blues King" Harris who was probably recorded by the Biharis on one of their first field trips to Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee in 1950 or 1951 ''Miss Darling'' first appeared in 1969 on Kent LP 9004, credited to Johnny Harris. However the original 78rpm lacquer was unmarked except for the titles written on its sleewe. On the flip it revealed ''Sufficient Clothes'' which was marred by a surge in level halfway through the performance, but with Bob Jones' technical assistance, the imperfection was corrected.

Harris also recorded in Chicago, as Harmonica Blues King for Ebony and had previously travelled from Memphis with James Bannister where the duo recorded for United in 1954. Theses sides have recently been released on Delmark's Pearl label on an LP entitled "Harmonica Blues Kings" together with Walter Horton 's States sides.

The Memphis postwar blues story is gradually emerging and its fascinating puzzle is fitting togeher. Shortly we will be taking a look into the amazing Little Rock and Helena sessions produced by the Biharis on their trail-blazing field trips during the early fifties.

- Ray Topping, 1988

References: Mike Rowe, Chicago Breakdown, Eddison Blues Books l, Bengt Olsson, Memphis Blues, Studio Vista, and various notes by Jim O'Neal and Mike Leadbitter.


1 - Jumpin' Blues (2:13) 1951 > RPM 338-B <
(Walter Horton-Jules Taub) (Copyright Control)
2 - Black Gal (2:56) 1951 > RPM 338-A <
(Sonny Williamson) (Berwick Music Corporation)
3 - Hard Hearted Woman (2:36) 1973
(Walter Horton) (Tristan Music Limited)
4 - Go Long Woman (3:01) 1973
(Walter Horton-Joe Josea) (Copyright Control)

1-4 Recorded June 1951 at The Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Horton (Mumbles) (vocal and harmonica), Calvin Newborn (guitar),
Phineas Newborn (piano), Willie Nix (drums)

5 - What's The Matter With You (Take 2) (2:14) 1988
(Walter Horton) (Copyright Control)
6 - Cotton Patch Hot Foot ((2:33) 1973
(Walter Horton) (Copyright Control)
7 - Little Boy Blue (Take 2) (2:56) 1951 > Modern 809-A <
(Jim Lockwood) (MCA Music Limited)
8 - Walter's Blues (Take 1) (3:07) 1988
(Walter Horton) (BMG Music Publishers Limited)
9 - Blues In The Morning (2:49) 1973
(Walter Horton-Jules Taub) (Copyright Control)
10 - Now Tell Me Baby (3:04) 1951 > Modern 809-B <
(Walter Horton) (Copyright Control)
11 - Walter's Blues (Take 2) (2:37) 1973
(Walter Horton) (BMG Music Publishers Limited)
12 - What's The Matter With You (Take 1) (2:27) 1988
(Walter Horton) (Copyright Control)
13 - Little Boy Blue (Take 1) (1:59) 1988
(Jim Lockwood) (MCA Music Limited)
14 - Boogie Woogie Boogie (Jim Lockhart) (5:43) 1988
(Jim Lockwood) (Copyright Control)
15 - Sufficient Clothes (Alfred ''Blues King'' Harris) (3:54) 1988
(J. Harris) (Copyright Control)
16 - Miss Darling (Alfred ''Blues King'' Harris) (4:12) 1969
(J. Harris) (MBG Music Publishers Limited)

5-16 - Recorded January/February 1951 at The Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Walter Horton (Mumbles) (vocal and harmonica), Willie Johnson (guitar),
Joe Hill Louis (guitar, bass, drum percussion), Unknown (piano)
Produced by Sam Phillips

Original Modern/RPM Recordings 

Note: When Modern Records received outside masters, they would assign their own MM matrix numbers en-block, so these dot not always accurately refer to the original sessions when they were recorded.

Compiled by Ray Topping
Archive Research by Ray Topping
Original Sleeve Designed by Martin Brown at SEE
Package Designed by Marjory van Mackelenbergh
Front Cover Phoro courtesy by Ray Topping

Mastered from digital tapes transferred from original analogue tapes

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


1990 Diamond Records (CD) 500/200rom AA701 mono

Compact disc. An Diamond Records Special Products. Red disc with design printed in silver. Trumpet logo printed at top of the disc, and catalog number below from the disc. Also included on the disc a inlay-page booklet biography with liner notes and session information by Marc Ryan. On the back cover, photo of Tiny Kennedy with Elmer, The Disc Jockey Rooster, and Acoustic Archives. Contains the issued and unissued Trompet masters produced by Lillian McMurry and Sam Phillips.


1 - Strange Kind Of Feelin' (2:26)
(Jesse Kennedy) (Robbins Music
2 - Have You Heard About The Farmer's Daughter? (2:44)
(Jesse Kennedy) (Globe Music)
3 - Early In The Mornin' Baby (2:22)
(Jesse Kennedy) (Globe Music)
4 - Don't Lat This Job On Me (2:58)
(Jesse Kennedy) (Globe Music)
5 - Blues Disease (2:22)
(Jesse Kennedy) (Globe Music)
Recorded September 25, 1952 at Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jesse Tiny Kennedy (vocal), Calvin Newborn (guitar), Alfordson ''Ford'' Nelson (piano),
Richard Sanders, Bill Fort, and Robert Hamp (saxophones)
Wilburn Steinberg (bass), Houston Stokes (drums)
Elmer, the disc jockey Rooster crowing (DRC 130)
1-2 Previously Unreleased

6 - Shufflin'With Love (2:17)
(Clayton Love) (Globe Music)
7 - Susie (2:39)
(Clayton Love) (Globe Music
Recorded June 10, 1951 at Scott's Radio Service, Jackson, Mississippi
Claton Love (piano and vocals), Henry Reed (bass), George Hicks (drums)
Jesse Flowers (alto saxophone), Eddie Lucas (trombone),
James Ford (trumpet), Unknown (tenor saxophone)

8 - East Of The Sun (2:40)
(Jerry ''Boogie'' McCain) (Globe Music)
9 - Wine-O-Wine (2:36)
(Jerry ''Boogie'' McCain) (Globe Music
Recorded October 10, 1953 at State Furniture, Jackson, Mississippi
Jerry McCain (vocals and harmonica), David Cambell (piano),
Herman Fowilkes (bass), Walter McCain (drums),
Bernard Williams (tenor Saxophone),
Christopher Collins (guitar)

10 - Stay Out Of Autobibiles (2:27)
(Jerry ''Boogie'' McCain) (Globe Music
11 - Middle Of The Night (2:36)
(Jerry ''Boogie'' McCain) (Globe Music
12 - Crazy Bout That Mess (2:18)
(Jerry ''Boogie'' McCain) (Globe Music
13 - Fall Guy (2:23)
(Jerry ''Boogie'' McCain) (Globe Music
14 - Love To Make Up (2:54)
(Jerry ''Boogie'' McCain) (Globe Music
Recorded November 4, 1954 at Diamond Recording Studios, Jackson, Mississippi
Jerry McCain (vocals and harmonica), David Cambell (piano), Raz Roseby (bass),
Junior Blackman (drums), J.V. Turner (guitar), Christopher Collins (guitar)
11-12 Previously Unreleased

While Lillian McMurry may have concentrated her early promotional efforts on Sonny Boy Williamson's and Willie Love's records, it was after all because the initial tallies showed them to be the bestselling. And while it was true that she auditioned all comers at The Record Mart, she also frequently stepped out with her husband Willard or her brother Milton to the Alamo Theatre, just a few doors down in the 300 block of North Farish, in Jackson, Mississippi, where their neighbor and Alamo Lehman would invite them to enjoy bands and revues he booted. There, sitting in the back with Arthur and Willard, she first saw Tiny Kennedy sing with Tiny Bradshaw's Orchestra in October of 1951.

''Tiny was so big and fat, when he sang his fat just went up and down rockin' with him'', she remembers. ''We put him under contract and recorded him''. Painfully aware of the limitations of the cumbersome sonic process at Scott's, which required a new blank disc for every take, sometimes running to 120 takes per title, Lillian was already searching for a better alternative and decided to try the taping facilities at WHBQ in Memphis, Tennessee. She sent Kennedy and the band of Jackson's musicians including Elmore James there on October 22, 1951, but the session turned out poorly and she scrapped it and determined to try again. She planned to record Tiny during the historic Cedars of Lebanon session in Jackson that December. ''I sent Tiny a plane ticket'' she recalled, ''and had Mose Allison's band come up from Baton Rouge. Tiny didn't show up and spent the money''. The young Allison, then a student at Louisiana State University, had stopped by The Record Mart now and then to advertise his talents, and had gained Lillian's respect. She would have to pay Mose and his band for travel expenses and wait nearly a year before finally getting some good takes on blues belter Kennedy.

Jesse Tiny Kennedy had already recorded for Capitol in 1949 with the great pianist Jay McShann. An allout entertainer, he spent his career touring, doing blues, popular jazz numbers and comedy routines with slick bands like Bradshaw's, which was booked by the prestigious William Morris Agency in New York. Bradshaw's Orchestra recorded many sides for the King label in Cincinnati. In fact, Kennedy listed his home address as Cincinnati during the mid fifties, although his original contract named 1006 King Street, Chattanooga as home.

Kennedy never actually recorded with Bradshaw, and seems to have been an elusive quarry for recordings in general. It remained for Sam Phillips to finally capture Tiny Kennedy for Trumpet in ''Finest Sonocoustic Sound'' at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, with a mighty band of local musicians, several of whom were regulars at Phillips' blues sessions period. His Memphis Recording Service offered up to the minute taping technology in a newly designed studio, along with a variety of services for hire, which paid the bills while he struggled to start his own Sun label. Lillian McMurry booked the session for September 25, 1952, somehow managed to convince Tiny show up, and let Sam provide the house band and do the engineering, as well as run dubs and acetate masters for eventual pressings. The results were memorable.

Kennedy's ability to ''rock the house'' with his gutsy vocals a perfect complement in the playing of Sun regulars Richard Sanders, Calvin Newborn, and Houston Stokes. This nucleus had achieved a level of communion that had them riding the cutting edge of rhythm and blues into the dawn of rock and roll with a fluid, ebullient sound that does indeed rock, roll, swing, drive, and alternately simmer and burst into flame throughout the session.

Tiny Kennedy was anything but diminutive, either in stature or vocal range. "Big and fat" was how Trumpet Records boss Lillian McMurry vividly described him, and she should know: Trumpet recorded the shouter in 1951 and again in 1952.

The vocalist born as Jesse Kennedy, Jr., on December 20, 1925 in Chattanooga, Tennessee had recorded with the great Kansas City pianist Jay McShann for Capitol in 1949 prior to joining Tiny Bradshaw's jumping band as one of its featured front men. After a session with Elmore James in 1951 didn't result in anything releasable, McMurry sent Kennedy up to Sam Phillips's fledgling Memphis Recording Service on the famous 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, in September of 1952.

Sam Phillips did some mastering and copying for other labels, but very little custom recording. He made an exception for Lillian McMurry at Trumpet Records in Jackson, Mississippi. McMurry had signed Tiny Kennedy but couldn't get the results she wanted at the WHBQ studio in Memphis. After that, he'd failed to show up for a session in Jackson, so she must have booked time at Phillips' Memphis Recording Service with some trepidation. She'd signed Kennedy after seeing him at Jackson's Alamo Theater when he fronted Tiny Bradshaw's orchestra. Kennedy was a mountain of a man with a voice to match, and he was from Chattanooga, as this song attests.

Sam Phillips placed him with the cream of musicians on the session, which produced the fine "Strange Kind Of Feelin'," "Early In The Mornin', Baby" (with overdubbed crowing by "Elmer, the Disc Jockey Rooster"), and "Blues Disease," included guitarist Calvin Newborn and saxophonist Richard Sanders. After the session, McMurry lit upon the idea of dubbing a rooster onto the intro.

In nearby Hattiesburg, Chuck Thompson was the early morning man on WFOR, and he had a pet rooster, Elmer, who crowed on cue and was sufficiently well known for Minnie Pearl's ''Pickin' And Singin' News'' to do a little feature on him. Phillips added Elmer to the tape, and McMurry crudely collaged him to Kennedy's promo photo.

On ''Strange Kind Of Feelin''', the rhythm section of Wilbur Steinberg, Calvin Newborn, Ford Nelson, and Houston Stokes propels this jumping blues. Add three saxophonists and an obese vocalist, and 706 Union must have been very full that day, so full that Phillips might have been the saxes or Kennedy out in the lobby. Lillian McMurry told researcher Marc Ryan that she grew tired of trying to nail down Tiny for sessions, and let him have his release. Three years later up in New York, Kennedy recorded ''Strange Kinda Feelin'' once again, this time for RCA's Groove imprint. For neither label was ''Strange Kinda Feeling'' a hit.

The alternate take of ''Strange Kind Of Feelin''' heard here, previously unreleased, was at first chosen for issue on Trumpet 187 by the McMurry's, who then changed their minds in favor of the other take at the last minute.

Sam Phillips' multitracks the backing vocals for an unusual effect at the intro of Kennedy's second Trumpet single, ''Blues Disease''. On some level, the song is fairly mundane, but the rhythm section, accented by a very busy Calvin Newborn on guitar, is so tight and slick, it redeems the record.

Thieving clergymen had been a staple of black vaudeville from the get go, and Kennedy draws on that long tradition with a narration inexplicably titled ''Don't Lay This Job On Me''. Specifically, Kennedy seems to be drawing on vaudevillian Bert Williams' ''Elder Eatmore'' narrations. The Money to build a new church has been purloined, and the threat of damnation hangs over everyone. Ford Nelson carries the accompaniment in an oddly inappropriate cocktail blues style. If this was an anomalous entry in the music recorded at 706 Union, it was a good one. It all comes down to Kennedy, and he pulls it off.

On ''Don't Lay This Job On Me'' finds the group noodling along in an effete jazz style with pianistic by Al Nelson that suggest Erroll garner, while Tiny carries on with his mock sermon, a vaudeville tradition that dated back at least fifty years to the pioneering recordings of black ragtime comedians like Bert Williams, Shelton Brooks, and Ham Tree Harrington.

The biting, bumping and grinding guitar solo by Calvin Newborn, the brother of the more famous Phineas Jr., in ''The Farmer's Daughter''does as much as Tiny's evocative lyrics to conjure up the image of the bucolic beauty.

A final Trumpet session for Kennedy, arranged by Lillian at the Nola Studios in New York City in June of 1953, failed to produce anything that she considered original enough to issue. Ultimately despairing in his ability to come through with fresh material, and unable to work closely with him due to the constant touring that kept him roaming up and down the East Coast most of the time, Lillian released Tiny from his contract in 1955 so he could sign with the New Yorkbased RCA's Groove subsidiary. For years afterward, Kennedy would pass through the south once a year on tour with the Harlem Revue, and would call Lillian and Willard whenever he sang at the State Fair in Jackson, Mississippi. Sometime during the 1960s, he stopped calling, and to this day, his fate is unknown. ''We never did get a sensible explanation about the time he didn't show up here, for this session'' remembered Lillian. ''Tiny was like a child in a lot of ways, you know. He couldn't seem to understand some things, but he dang sure could sing the blues''.

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


© 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 38 mono digital
Compact disc. An Rounder Records Special Products. Silver disc. Design printed in green and gray. The Rounder logo and catalog number below from the disc. Also included on the disc a inlay-page booklet biography with liner notes and session information by Colin Escott. On the back cover, Rounder logo right on bottom. Catalog number in upper right. Contains the issued, and the best unissued Sun masters, produced by Sam Phillips. Rounder Records is based in Boston since 1970, is a major independent distributor of American roots, blues, and folk music.

Mystery Train (Sun 192) (Junior Parker)
Love Me Baby (Sun 192)  (Junior Parker)
Feelin' Good (Sun 187)  (Junior Parker)
Fussin' And Fightin' (Blues) (Sun 187)  (Junior Parker)
Feelin' Bad  (Junior Parker)
Love My Baby (Alternate Take)  (Junior Parker)
Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'  (Junior Parker)
Sittin' At The Bar  (Junior Parker)
Sittin' At My Window (Please Baby Blues)  (Junior Parker)
Cotton Crop Blues (Sun 206) (James Cotton)
Hold Me In Your Arms (Sun 206) (James Cotton)
My Baby (Sun 199) (James Cotton)
Bonus Pay (Pat Hare)
I'm Gonna Murder My Baby (Cheatin' And Lyin' Blues) (Pat Hare)
Original Sun Recordings
© 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35 mono digital
Compact disc. An Rounder Records Special Products. Silver disc. Design printed in purple. The Rounder logo and catalog number below from the disc. Also included on the disc a 6-page booklet biography with liner notes and session information by Colin Escott and David Booth. On the back cover, Rounder logo right on bottom. Catalog number in upper right. Contains the issued, and the best unissued Sun masters, produced by Sam Phillips. Rounder Records is based in Boston since 1970, is a major independent distributor of American roots, blues, and folk music.

Contains - The Issued Masters
Beggin' My Baby
Somebody Told Me
Lookin' For My Baby
Alone And Blue
If You Love Me Baby
Homesick For My Baby
The Best Of The Unissued Masters
Lookin' For My Baby (Take 2)
Running Wild Blues
I Love My Baby
If Crying Would Help Me
Oo Wee, Wee Baby
Homesick For My Baby
Original Sun Recording

© 1993 Collector Records (CD) 500/200rpm CLCD4412 mono digital

Early Memphis rock and roll singer Ray Scott is a figure of some interest to serious rockabilly collectors. Apart from cutting a couple of rockabilly classics, the frequently anthologized "Bopping Wig Wam Willie" and "You Drive Me Crazy", Scott recorded for Eddie Bond's Stomper Time label and wrote Billy Riley's "Flying Saucers Rock And Roll''. You Drive Me Crazy collects all but two sides from Scott's late 1950s and early 1960s singles, plus a number of previously unreleased recordings, most of which were made for Sun Records in 1956 or as demos in the 1970s. but the booklet contains an informative, if brief, biography of Scott and reproductions of some rare photos and memorabilia. Scott was a talented songwriter (his early 1960s single "I'll Never Be A Dreamer" is particularly good) and was in the right place at the right time but never quite managed to break through as a recording artist or songwriter.


1 - Bopping Wig Wam Willie (2:16)
(Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music
2 - I'll Never Be A Dreamer (2:07)
(Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music)
***3 - Goodbye Little Girl (2:14)
(Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music)
***4 - Boll Weevil Junction (2:29)
(Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music)
***5 - You're The One That Done It (2:36)
(Ray Scott) (Tree Music)
6 - The Train's Done Gone (1:49)
((Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music)
7 - Just Behind Your Smile (2:37)
(Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music)
8 - You Drive Me Crazy (2:02)
(Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music)
9 - So Long, I'm Gone (2:27)
(Roy Orbison) (Knox Music Incorporated)
***10 - High Heel Sneakers (2:35)
(Tommy Tucker) (Arc Music)
***11 - One Of These Days (3:00)
(Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music)
***12 - Memphis (2:37)
(Chuck Berry) (Arc Music)
***13 - Folsom Prison Blues (2:44)
(Johnny Cash) (Knox Music Incorporated
***14 - Haunted House (2:25)
(R. Geddins) (Venice Music)
15 - Boy Meets Girl (2:22)
(Ray Scott) (Cederwood Publishing)
16 - Tonight Will Be The Last Time (2:04)
)Stan Keslere-Warren Smith) (Ridgetop Music
*17 - I Just Don't Figure (2:24)
(Ray Scott) (All Rock Music
*18 - Whispering Winds (2:25)
(Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music)
19 - San Antone (2:07)
(Ray Scott) (All Rock Music)
20 - Loving Wanting You (False Start) (2:15)
(Ray Scott) (All Rock Music)
21 - Say Anything But Not Goodbye (2:27)
(E. Braden) (All Rock Music)
22 - High Heel Sneakers (Take 1) (3:05)
(Tommy Tucker) (Arc Music)
**23 - Josephine (2:58)
(King-Bevens-Kahn) (Hunter Music
**24 - Gone Gone Gone (2:280
(Carl Perkins) (Knox Music Incorporated)

* - Previously Unreleased Alternate Takes
** - Previously Unreleased Live Recordings
*** - Previously Unreleased 1970s Recordings

Ray Scott is one of the great unsung heroes of rock and roll. A legendary figure, who played an integral part in the development of rock and roll music in Memphis thirty or so years ago. Born, Harold Raymond Scott in Bicknell, Indiana, in 1929. Ray, as he prefers to be known, settled in Memphis in the mid-fifties. By day, Ray worked as a toolmaker for a light engineering firm. In the evenings. having shed his work attire and donned his ''Cat Clothes', Ray set the town on fire, when he performed his own vibrant brand of 'rock and roll at the Congress club in downtown Memphis.

In 1956, Ray met Marshall Erwin Ellis, a local entrepreneur, who started his own record company - Erwin Records. Hitherto Marshall Ellis had only recorded hillbilly music. However, being the astute businessman that he was, Marshall Ellis recognised rock and roll as a potential money spinner; And had decided to try his hand at recording some of the better rock and roll singers that had come his way.

Less than six months after his initial meeting with Marshall Ellis, Ray entered Slim Wallaces makeshift studio a converted garage on Fernwood Drive, in Memphis - to make his first recordings for the Erwin label. An impressive group of musicians had been brought together in the studio for the session . Roland Janes on guitar, Jimmy Van Eaton on drums, Marvin Pepper on bass and pianist Jimmy Wilson. The atmosphere in the studio that day was charged with excitement. After a few false starts, Ray and the band launched them selves with gusto, into "Boppin' Wig Wam Willie", a song which is now regarded as one of the finest examples of Memphis rock and roll.

When "Boppin' Wig Wam Willie" was released it caused quite a furore in Memphis. The record received considerable airplay, and sales were good. Subsequently Ray was inundated with requests for personal appearances. In addition to the success that he was enjoying with "Boppin' Wig Wam Willie", Ray was also enjoying some success at that time as a songwriter. He had written a number of songs that had been recorded, including - "Flying Saucers Rock And Roll" (Billy Riley on Sun) and "You're The One That Done It" (Thomas Wayne for Fernwood).

When the interest in ''Boppin' Wig Wam Willie" waned, Ray decided that is was time for him to record again. As he was not under contract to Mr. Ellis, he was free to take his material elsewhere. Jim Stewarts' nedgeling Satellite label, was suggested to Ray by a musician who had worked for Stewart. Acting upon that suggestion he approached Jim Stewart, and a deal was struck between the two of them. It was a simple deal. one which was quite common at that time. Jim Stewart would release a record by Ray on Satellite, but Ray had to finance the recording session and the manufacture or the records.

Ray Scott's Satellite recordings were made in a ramshackle garage in Memphis suburb. Ray and his band consisting of Lee Adkins on guitar, Gene Chrisman on drums, and blind pianist Jimmy Smith, crammed their equipment the small improvised studio. The musicians tuned their instruments, a sound check was made, and then without funher ado, the tapes stalled to roll. The whole neighbourhood shook as Ray and the band pounded their way through, the wild pulsating rocker "You Drive Me Crazy". Ray recorded one other song at that session "Say Anything But Goodbye", before the band packed their equipment away, loaded it into their van, and drove off into the night.

The recordings were processed, the records pressed, and released within six weeks of the session. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, fate took a hand in the proceedings. Not long after "You Drive Me Crazy" was released on Satellite. Jim Stewart received an injunction from a California court, ordering him to stop using the name Satellite for his record company, (As there was a West Coast record company who had registered the name). Furthermore he was to cease distribution of the records that he had already released on the label.

Undeterred by what had happened, and eager to record again. Ray took two songs that he had written ''The Trains Done Gone" and "Just Behind Your Smile", to Marshall Ellis. He performed the songs for Mr Ellis, who duly impressed agreed to record the songs and release them on Erwin Records.

A recording session was arranged at Slim Wallaces' brand new "Fernwood" studio on Main Street in Memphis. The recording engineer at the session was Ray's old friend Scotty Moore. When Scotty heard the material he played with Ray to let him take the finished masters to Nashville, where he would try to get Ray a deal with one of the major record companies. But Ray, a man of integrity, refused. His response to Scotty Moore's' entreaty was succinct, Ellis payed for those so they belong to him". Marshall Ellis released the two songs on Erwin 668 in late 1958, or early in 1959.

Ray Scott maintained his working relationship with Marshall Ellis, recording next for Stomper Time, a label jointly owned by Ellis and Eddie Bond. In the early sixties, Ray embarked upon a joint business venture with, Memphis club owner Tommy Thompson of RCT Records. RCT, which was an abbreviation for "Recording Company Tennessee", released a dozen or so records by local artists, including two by Ray. The label folded sometime around 1963 and after the demise of RCT, Ray continued to work in Memphis, and recorded country music for a handful of different record companies.

In 1971, disillusioned with the music business, Ray quit singing, and moved back to Indiana. Today he is a successful businessman, with his own fleet of taxi cabs. Ray Scott died on October 17, 1999 in Indiana, of a heart attack at the aged of 70.

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


© May 1994 Rhino Records (CD) 500/200rpm R271780 mono digital
3 compact disc boxed set. Red Flip label, Yellow Sun label, Blue Phillips label separate on disc. On the front cover of the box set, Sun logo at center. Also included a booklet with introduction liner notes by James Austin. Liner notes in booklet by Jimmy Guterman. There have been a lot of Sun compilations over the years; this three-CD, 74-song compilation strikes the medium ground between abridged single-disc highlights and overkill ten-album box sets. What this means is that you get virtually all the key sides of this vastly influential blues, country, and rockabilly label, including the biggest Sun hits cut by Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, and Roy Orbison. There's also a lot of the pioneering electric blues cut by label head Sam Phillips before he made rockabilly Sun's focus, including sides by Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Junior Parker, and James Cotton. Then there are the interesting small hits and flops by minor rockabilly figures like Warren Smith, Billy Lee Riley, Malcolm Yelvington, Onie Wheeler, and Carl Mann. There aren't any previously unreleased songs, so the Sun specialist most likely already has everything here; it's a better buy for the avid, knowledgeable fan who isn't a completist.

Disc 1: Contains
Gotta Let You Go (Joe Hill Louis)
Rocket 88 (Jackie Brenston)
B.B. Blues (B.B. King)
Swamp Root (Harmonica Frank Floyd)
Monin' At Midnight (Howlin' Wolf)
How Many More Years (Howlin' Wolf)
There's A Man In Jerusalem (The Southern Jubilees)
Rats In My Kitchen (Sleepy John Estes)
She May Be Yours (Joe Hill Louis)
Baker Shop Boogie (Willie Nix)
Easy (Jimmy & Walter)
Bear Cat (Rufus Thomas)
Take A Little Change (Jimmy DeBerry)
Just Walkin' In The Rain (The Prisonaires)
Make Room In The Lifeboat For Me (Howard Seratt)
Feelin' Good (Little Junior's Blue Flames)
Tiger Man (Rufus Thomas)
Mystery Train (Little Junior's Blue Flames)
Come Back Baby (Doctor Ross)
Gospel Train (The Jones Brothers)
My Kind Of Carryin' On (Doug Poindexter & The Starlite Wranglers)
I'm Gonna Murder My Baby (Pat Hare)
Cotton Crop Blues (James Cotton)
Original Sun Recordings

Disc 2: Contains
That's All Right
Good Rockin' Tonight (Elvis Presley)
Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (Malcolm Yelvington)
Turn Around (Carl Perkins)
Baby, Let's Play House (Elvis Presley)
Someday You Will Pay (The Miller Sisters)
Red Hot (Billy The Kid Emerson
Lookin' For My Baby (Little Milton)
Cry! Cry! Cry! (Johnny Cash)
Sitting By My Window (Five Tinos)
Mystery Train (Elvis Presley)
Let The Jukebox Keep On Playing (Carl Perkins)
Defrost Your Heart (Charlie Feathers)
Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)
Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins)
Honey, Don't! (Carl Perkins)
Let's Get High (Rosco Gordon)
Everybody's Tryin' To Be My Baby (Carl Perkins)
Rock And Roll Ruby (Warren Smith)
I Walk The Line (Johnny Cash)
Get Rhythm (Johnny Cash)
Ooby Dooby (Roy Orbison)
Red Headed Woman (Sonny Burgess)
Dixie Fried (Carl Perkins)
Ubangi Stomp (Warren Smith)
Original Sun Recordings

Disc 3: Contains
Crazy Arms (Jerry Lee Lewis)
End Of The Road (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Flying Saucers Rock And Roll (Billy Riley)
Matchbox (Carl Perkins)
Down By The Riverside (The Million Dollar Quartet)
Devil Doll (Roy Orbison)
Whole Lotta Of Shakin' Goin' On (Jerry Lee Lewis)
So Long I'm Gone (Warren Smith)
Red Hot (Billy Riley)
Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache (Warren Smith)
Raunchy (Bill Justis)
You Win Again (Jerry Lee Lewis
Great Balls Of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Claudette (Roy Orbison)
Breathless (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Guess Things Happen That Way (Johnny Cash)
High School Confidential (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Right Behind You Baby (Ray Smith)
Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox (Onnie Wheeler)
Lovin' Up A Storm (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Mona Lisa (Carl Mann)
Lonely Weekends (Charlie Rich)
Who Will The Next Fool Be (Charlie Rich)
Jack's Jump (The Night Hawks)
Don't Put No Headstone On My Grave (Charlie Rich)
Cadillac Man (The Jesters)
Original Sun Recording

1995 Memphis Archives (CD) 500/200rpm MA7016 mono

Compact disc. An Memphis Archives Special Product. Silver disc with photo of Dewey Phillips behind the radio console of the WHBQ studio at the Chisca Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, on his simulcast "Red, Hot & Blue" show during the 1950s. Memphis Archives logo with catalog number printed on bottom of the disc. Also included a 2-page inlay booklet biography with liner notes by Gregg Gordon.

If 1950's rock radio was defined by the unique personalities of the likes of Alan Freed and Wolfman Jack, Dewey Phillips was unique among the unique. He brought black rhythm and blues music to white teenagers in Memphis two years before Freed started doing the same in Cleveland. He brought rock and roll to television a year before Dick Clark's American Bandstand. And while segregation was imposed on virtually every aspect of life in the streets, "Daddy-O" Dewey gleefully integrated the airwaves of the South.

These selections offer a glimpse into this unique performer during his rise, at his peak, and in the decline of his career. It is a voice which has not been heard before and will likely not be heard again - a voice which changed the social landscape of Memphis and the musical landscape of the world.

Producer - Richard James Hite
Assistant Produce - Keith Soltys
Executive Producer - Eddie Dattel
Engineer - Rick Caughron;
Mastered by Richard James Hite and Rick Caughron
Art Direction - Leanne Ellis;
Cover Photograph - Jim Cole
Liner Notes - Gregg Gordon;
Special Thanks: Jim Cole and Charles Ratteri

Tell 'em Phillips sent ya!"

With those words, Dewey Phillips, a simple, west Tennessee country boy with a passion for rhythm and blues, began making his indelible imprint in the history of American music. Born in 1926, Dewey grew up in the small town of Adamsville, Tennessee, and moved to Memphis following a stint in the army with nothing but a vague ambition to be a singer. A misfit at most jobs (he was fired from a bakery for convincing his co-workers to shape the loaves of bread like gingerbread men), Dewey found his element on Beale Street, the heart of the black community and proving grounds for dozens of rising blues and jazz artists. He was the rare white person who felt comfortable haunting those clubs in that era, but then, "Dewey had no color'', said Beale Street entertainer and Stax recording star Rufus Thomas.

In 1948, seeking an entree into the music business, Dewey got a job hawking records at Grant's, a depart- ment store in downtown Memphis. He immediately began blasting rhythm and blues through loudspeakers onto Main Street, then plugged a microphone onto the record player and started blasting himself. He soon had the hottest record department in the 500-store chain and had become his own brand of disc jockey. All he needed was a radio station.

At the same time, another breakthrough had occurred in Memphis. WDIA, a small, dawn to dusk station on the verge of bankruptcy, had gone to all-black programming. It was the first such station in the country and it was a spectacular success. It was a new kind of radio. Instead of the polish and impeccable diction expected of radio announcers of the era, disc jockeys like Thomas and B.B. King brought a style of entertaining honed not in announcing schools but on the stages of Beale Street and country minstrel shows. They told jokes, one-upped each other on the air and even talked over the music, if only because the lyrics of so many blues records were considered too lewd for radio.

To its competitors, the only thing more shocking than WDlA's style were its profits, and they yearned for a piece of the action. Still unwilling to take the drastic step of hiring a black announcer, WHBQ decided to put on a rhythm and blues show called "Red Hot & Blue" as soon as WDIA went off the air at sunset, hoping the music alone would draw the black audience. But hosted by a schooled, baritone-voiced announcer who knew nothing about the music he was playing, the show flopped.

Apprehensively, but aware of his success at Grant's, the station gave Dewey a shot at hosting in October, 1949, and in less than a year the show grew from 15 minutes to an hour; then two; then three. Broadcasting "from the magazine level (i.e. mezzanine) of the Chisca Hotel'', his signature was a manic, machine-gun style of speaking that made few concessions to proper English. "Deegaw," he would yelp, and no one cared what it meant. If the jocks at WDIA talked over records to disguise lewd lyrics, Dewey did it just because it was fun. If he mispronounced his sponsor's names, that was fine. The customers came, with Dewey's trademark on their lips: "Phillips sent me''.

But while the local newspapers delighted in the story of the white disc jockey and his appeal to black listeners (they reported people even showing up at the hospital emergency room saying, "Phillips sent me'', something more was happening. White listeners were tuning in, too. One was a struggling record producer with the same passion for rhythm and blues: Sam Phillips. Although not related, the two struck up a fast and mutually beneficial friendship. Dewey had a "platinum ear'', Sam thought, an uncanny knack for picking hits, and "Red Hot & Blue" became his personal test market, debuting the records of Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, and other then obscure artists Sam was recording in his small Memphis studio.

In July, 1954, Sam showed up with a record unusual even by his standards. It wasn't rhythm and blues. It wasn't country. It wasn't pop. It was Elvis Presley. Dewey played "That's Alright" on his show, and the world has never been the same. The station was flooded with phone calls, and Dewey played the song again and again, finally having to bring Elvis down to the studio for an interview. When the teenager protested that he knew nothing about being interviewed, Dewey's simple advice was, "Just don't say nothin' dirty''.

Dewey and Elvis, too, became fast friends. Dewey bought Elvis his first touring car, a $450 Lincoln, but turned down an offer to manage him. His business of breaking new records was still not finished. In the next few years, Dewey would debut dozens of historic recordings coming out of Sam's Sun Records, including Carl Perkins' ''BIue Suede Shoes'', Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Coin' On''.

Even more importantly, listening to Dewey had become almost a rite of passage for Memphis teenagers, black and white. The integrated bands who would make the hits at Stax, Hi and American studios in the 1960's and 1970's had their ears trained listening to Dewey in the 1950's, often in the parking lot of a supermarket, dancing in the headlights of their cars. Wherever you were, Dewey made it a party.

In 1956, WHBQ decided to try Dewey on television, initially following Lawrence Welk. "You better warn those Welk listeners to grab that dial quick'', he said, "because if they don't, I'll be right there at 'em''. With his sidekick, Harry Fritzius, an eccentric art student who did the show in a trench coat and gorilla mask, "Dewey Phillips' Pop Shop" was a huge success. It was simulcast with his radio show, and because radio and TV broke at different times for different commercials, Dewey was never sure if he was on one or the other or both. No matter. "You really couldn't make a mistake on the show'', a crew member said. "The whole show was a series of mistakes''.

Early in his career, WHBQ resorted to hiring "babysitters" for Dewey, just to protect their studio. "He was not physically well organized'', a colleague remembered kindly. He dropped the needle on records and slobbered on the microphone. He eventually proved so abusive to the equipment that they gave him his own studio.

By the mid-1950s, though, the babysitter's main task was to protect Dewey from his fans. He had become as big a star as the musicians whose records he played, and his country hipster comments became instant slang in Memphis: "Anybody wanna buy a duck''? ''If you can't drink it, freeze it and eat it''. "That'll get it. That'll flat get it''.

But even as Dewey reached his peak, the future was closing in on him. Perhaps he had his first inkling when he saw Elvis singing on the Steve Allen show in a tuxedo. "What are you doing in that monkey suit, boy? Where's your guitar''? he scolded. Rock and roll was here to stay, all the more reason not to leave it in the hands of outrageous, untamable disc jockeys. The future was called Top 40, with its pre-ordained playlists handed down from on high.

In the late 1950's, Dewey's behavior became more and more erratic. Always an enthusiastic drinker, chronic pain from two car accidents led to an additional dependence on painkillers. The combination began to take its toll.

When his partner, Fritzius, made lewd advances to a stage prop - a cardboard cutout of movie starlet Jayne Mansfield - Dewey's tv show was cancelled instantly. Within a few months, he lost his radio show as well. Thus began a tragic, 10-year odyssey during which he bounced from one station to another in Memphis and Little Rock, never staying at any of them for long, lived mostly with his friends and began to address nearly everyone as "Elvis''. His last job was in Millington, Tennessee, at a small station in a small Navy town a few miles north of Memphis. On a Saturday afternoon in 1968, he died in bed at his mother's house in Memphis at the age of 42.


© 1997 Gee Dee Music (CD) 500/200rpm 270131-2 mono digital

An Gee Dee Music Special Production. Black label with some distortions. Gee Dee logo on bottom of the disc. The fine print photo on the bottom of the disc. On the front cover of the inlay showing a photo of Hayden Thompson performing at Memphis. Contains 1-7, 29-33 original Sun recordings. Tracks 8-28 licensed from Davis Travis, representing Hayden Thompson. Also included in the compact disc, an inlay booklet with introduction notes by himself, and session notes by Randy McNutt.

1 - Fairlane Rock (2:30)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
2 - Love My Baby (2:08)
(Herman Parker-Sam Phillips)
3 - Blues Blues Blues (1) (2:02)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
4 - Don't You Worry (2:07)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
5 - One Broken Heart (2:23)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
6 - Mama, Mama, Mama (1:47)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
7 - Rockabilly Gal (2:20)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
8 - Call Me Shorty (1:55)
(Carl Matthews) (Copyright Control)
9 - Kansas City Blues (2:45)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
10 - I Feel The Blues Coming On (2:33)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
11 - I Love Country Music (2:28)
(Stewart-Barlow) (Tree Music)
12 - Brown Eyed Handsome Man (2:09)
(Chuck Berry) (Arc Music)
13 - It Won't Be Long Until The Summer (2:32)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
14 - Act Like You Love Me (2:31)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
15 - Frankie And Johnny (2:16)
(Traditional) (Copyright Control)
16 - Pretending (2:02)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
17 - Goin' Steady (2:33)
(Faron Young) (Campbell-Connelly)
18 - Pardon Me (1) (3:02)
(Hayden Thompson) (Jack Music Incorporated)
19 - Old Kris Kringle (1:28)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
20 - That's All Right (1:31)
(Arthur Crudup) (Crudup Music)
21 - I'll Hold You In My Heard (2:26)
(Eddy Arnold-Tommy Dilbeck-Hal Horton)
22 - Queen Bee (1:47)
(Jack Clement) (Jack Music Incorporated)
23 - Shake, Rattle And Roll (1:57)
(Charles E. Calhoun) (Campbell-Conelly)
24 - Funny How Time Slips Away (2:31)
(Willie Nelson) (Tree Music
25 - The Keys To My Kingdom (1”26)
Shake, Rattle And Roll
26 - Good Rockin' Tonight (2:07)
(Roy Brown) (Acherbergs Music)
27 - Pardon Me (2) (2:34)
(Hayden Thompson) (Jack Music Incorporated)
28 - Guess I'd Better Be Moving Along (2:02)
(C. Phillips-A. Browning) (Rolando Music Incorporated
29 - Love Me Baby (2:30) Alternate Take
(Herman Parker-Sam Phillips)
30 - One Broken Heart (2:24)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
31 - You Are My Sunshine (2:37)
(Davis-Michell) (Peer Southern Music)
32 - Blues Blues Blues (2) (2:24)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)
33 - Congratulations To You Joe (2:29)
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music) 

1-7 & 29-33 Original Sun Recordings
8-28 Licensed from Dave Travis

''I came from Booneville, Mississippi, to Memphis after getting bit by the music bug early in life. Right out of high school in 1956 I travelled with the Dixie Jazzlanders. We played at hometown theaters with the movie ''Rock Around The Clock''. Then I started hanging around Sun Records and eventually recorded such songs as "Blues, Blues, Blues", "Mama, Mama, Mama", and '"Fairlane Rock". I started singing country music, and when Elvis came out he was a big influence on me. I remember one time in 1954, I put some rock into a tune and the band liked to kill me for doing it. The players said rock and roll wouldn't last. Well, so much for that. I thought Elvis was the greatest. I wrote a tribute to him a few years ago, "The Boy From Tupelo", on my album called "Booneville, Mississippi Flash". You know, I only cut seven songs for Sun Records, but you'd think I cut seven million selling ones. I sure got a lot of mile age out of Sun. I've had more attention paid to me because of Sun in the last couple of years than I had in the last thirty. I left Sun and Memphis in early 1958 and came to Chicago to work the clubs and record for some small labels. That went nowhere. I got away from recording. Then in 1965 country music got popular in Chicago and I worked some more. I signed with Kapp Records and recorded three singles and an album in Nashville. Since then, I've recorded a little and worked the local joints. Nothing really ever caught on for though. In 1976, I just got tired of it all and hung up the guitar and called it quits. Or so I thought. By 1984 the rockabilly thing was going crazy in Europe, and I went over there on tour and recorded more records. It has been just great. Now, this is 1987 and I'm 49 years old. I'd love to be able to play my music fulltime. I've driven a limousine for the last twelve years and I've been able to be with my family. So I don't need a million dollars or a big house. I'm too old to dream. But I would like to perform full-time. If I don't get to do it, I won't care. This career has been fun. People tell me to get on a revival show, but I tell them that I never even had a hit. The people enjoy my music, however, and enjoy playing it. So I will''.

- Highland Park, Illinois; May, 1987

From the Book "We Wanna Boogie" An Illustrated History of The Rockabilly Movement by Randy McNutt, HHP Books, Hamilton, Ohio, by kind permission of the author.

© 1998 Collectables Records (CD) 500/200rpm COL CD 5921 mono digital

An Sun Entertainment Corporation production. Distributed by Collectables Records. Frank Frost began his career when he learned to play the harmonica from the great Sonny Boy Williamson. Later he developed into a multi-instrumentalist, playing not only the harp but also the guitar and piano.

Delta harmonica man Frank Frost hooked up with longtime friend and drummer Sam Carr (the son of blues legend Robert Nighthawk) and guitarist Big Jack Johnson in 1962 to form a stripped-down blues trio that came to be known as the Nighthawks. Sam Phillips of Sun Records almost immediately whisked them into the recording studio, and the result was a single and an album, ''Hey Boss Man''!, released on the newly created Phillips International imprint. The recordings collected here are those sessions, and they feature a lean, ragged blues approach that adapts the Chicago sound back into a Delta format. The easy, natural roll of songs like "Big Boss Man'', "Jelly Roll King" (essentially "Big Boss Man" in new clothes), "Pocket Full Of Shells'', and the classic, delightful instrumental "Jack's Jump" form the swampy template that the group would follow in their later incarnation as the Jelly Roll Kings. Liner notes for this album written by Mark Marymont. This compact disc contains several Phillips International recordings from his album (PILP 1975) originally released in June 1962.

1 - Big Boss Mann (2:43) 1962
(Luther Dixon-Al Smith) (ATV Music Publishers)
2 - Jelly Roll King (2:29) 1962
(Frank Frost) (Knox Music Incorporated)
3 - What You Gonna Do (2:41) 1962
(Frank Frost) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
4 - You're So Kind (2:50) 1962
(Frank Frost) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
5 - Pocket Full Of Shells (2:00) 1962
(Frank Frost) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
6 - Lucky To Be Living (3:39) 1962
(Nickey Crouch-Keith Karlson) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
7 - Now Twist (1:53) 1962
(Frank Frost) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
8 - Crawl Back (1:58) 1962
(Frank Frost) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
9 - So Tired Of Living By Myself (3:01) 1962
(Frank Frost) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
10 - Gonna Make You Mine (2:49) 1962
(Frank Frost) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
11 - Jack's Jump (Tape Stretch on Master) (2:14) 1962
(Frank Frost-Herman Parker Jr) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

Recorded April 10, 28, 1962 at Sam Phillips Recording Studio
639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Frank Frost (vocal, guitar and harmonica),
The Night Hawks
Jack Johnson (guitar), Sam Carr (drums)

Original Phillips International Recordings

The Very Best Of Frank Frost
Big Boss Man

Frank Frost has long been recognized by blues fans as an accomplished singer and multi-instrumentalist. Although his record sales never reflected his popularity, he nonetheless recorded a strong body of work, including an album of material for the owner of Sun Records.

Frank Otis Frost was born April 15, 1936, in either Auvergne, Arkansas, depending on which source book you turn to. His parents were Dafthula and Winston Frost.

Young Frank learned to play the piano in church. In his teens, he began playing juke joints around east Arkansas, including Helena, home of blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson, who taught him to play harmonica. In 1956, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked in a number of clubs, often teaming up with Williamson. He also worked in Sam Carr's band during hat time.

In 1959, Frost headed back south, settling in Lula, Mississippi, not far across the river from Helena. He continued to play music with Carr and other musicians who came and went from the area. In 1962, Frost was leader of a group he called The Night Hawks. Sam Phillips, owner of Memphis-based Sun Records, was taken with the sound of the band and signed them to his Phillips International division.

Long before he discovered Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis or other southern rockers, Phillips had been recording powerful delta bluesmen, including Howlin' Wolf, So it was hardly a stretch for Phillips to be interested in what Frost did. The result of their collaboration was an album, "Hey Boss Man''!, that came out in 1962 as Phillips International 1975.

"I just had to record him, it was a classic blues album'', Phillips said about the Frost album. Unfortunately, the sales of the album or singles like "Crawlback" b/w "Jelly Roll King" (PI 3578) didn't amount to much and Frost moved on, leaving what would become a high y collectable album in his wake.

After the Phillips album, Frost continued to tour in the south, playing harmonica and guitar with Sam Carr on drums. In late 1962, Jack Johnson, from Lambert, Mississippi, joined on second guitar. They played blues clubs and also worked with rock and roll acts like Conway Twitty and Carl Perkins.

In 1966, Frost and the band signed a contract with Shreveport, Louisiana-based Jewel Records. One single, "My Back Scratcher" (Jewel 765), a sly answer to Slim Harpo's "Scratch My Back'', was a minor rhythm and blues hit in the fall of 1966.

Frost and company continued to work together until the mid-1970s, when they broke up. A few years later, they reunited, billing themselves as The Jelly Roll Kings, to avoid confusion with a white blues rock band called The Nighthawks. They signed to Earwig Records and toured the U.S. and Europe. Frost also appeared in a powerful scene in the 1986 movie "Crossroads'', performing in a Mississippi juke joint, something he had been doing for years.

By the late 1980s, Frost was still touring, although on a more limited basis due to health problems. He continued into the 1990s to be a featured performer at Helena's King Biscuit Blues Festival, a three-day event held every October. Festival sponsors are always careful to acknowledge the musical heritage of talented performers like Frost. Playing keyboards or harp, singing at times, the low-key Frost, a bit frail to be sure, would still put on a great show.

- Mark Marymont

Billboard chart numbers courtesy of BPI Communications and Joel Whitburn's Record Research.

For Biography of Frank Frost see: < The Sun Biographies <
Frank Frost Sun/PI recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© November 24, 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694 mono digital

24 tracks from the early 1950s, including ''No More Doggin'', ''Booted''', ''Saddled The Cow'' and ''Dime A Dozen''. Gordon was one of rhythm and blues' brightest young stars in the early 1950s. Digitally mastered from primary sources, BOOTIN' contains the cream of Rosco's RPM sides, including one previously unissued title, and represents the distinctive young Gordon at his creative peak.

"The audience was very enthusiastic because I had a new sound''.

The history books don't mention it and there aren't any plaques mounted above the entrance to his New York home announcing the fact, but Rosco Gordon may just be the single most influential figure in the genesis of ska and, hence, reggae.

The late Errol Dixon cited artists such as Johnny Ace, Floyd Dixon and Smiley Lewis as well as the ''Aladdin Sound'' of Shirley and Lee as seminal influences in the development of post-war Jamaican music. However. it wasn't until 1959 that the local scene coalesced into a recognisable movement when aspiring musos were galvanised into action by a pair of records that were to prove highly inspirational - Rosco Gordon's ''No More Doggin" (a 1952 hit in the States not available in Jamaica until the end of the decade) and Wilbert Harrison's 1959 US chart topper, ''Kansas City''. A strong case might also be made for Fats Domino's ''Be My Guest'', also from 1959.

Although these records shared a common ''back-to-front'' rhythm. Gordon's ''No More Doggin" was the precursor by some seven years and also the most idiosyncratic, being akin to slow, monotonous primitive rock. Following a pattern set by his earlier hit, ''Booted'', it featured a loping boogie shuffle with a strong accent on the off-beat that depended on repetition for its excitement. It also gave the impression of being inexpertly recorded (it was, in fact, produced in someone's living room) and this slightly shambolic feel was later reflected in much of early ska. Gordon refined the style, which came to be known as "Rosco's Rhythm", on followups such as ''New Orleans Wimmen'' and ''Lucille''.

No greater authority than former Island Records supremo Chris Blackwell underlined the importance of Gordon in the scheme of things in an interview he gave in 1964 around the time ska or bluebeat was experiencing a growth in popularity among white British teenagers.

''Towards the end of the 50s", he explained, "Jamaicans got keen on rhythm and blues, particularly a record called ''No More Doggin'" sung by Rosco Gordon. They got hold of this beat, cheered it up a bit, added some cute lyrics and called it ska onomatopoeic word for the sound the guitar made. From 1959 onwards this was all the rage''.

Capitalising on his pre-eminence, Gordon visited Jamaica in 1957 and was enthusiastically received by audiences at concerts in Kingston. The wheel turned full circle when he recorded for local reggae producer Coxsone Dodd (of Bob Marley fame) in 1996.

- Rob Finnis, with thanks to Val Wilmer

The Early Days

"I was born Rosco Gordon in Memphis, Tennessee, 10 April 1934. My father Rosco the first, was a labourer. He worked at the lumber mill, right behind our home at 1654 Florida Street, South Memphis. It was about a thirty-minute ride on the bus to Beale Street. And my mother Adele, she was a housewife''.

"My sister, Ella Mae, she was taking piano lessons. And she would come home every afternoon and sit down and rehearse her lessons. I would sit down on the piano stool beside her. And I would try to emulate her. So I created my own style by trying to play where she played. created a whole brand new style''.

"At that time was hearing Nat King Cole, Charles Brown, Percy Mayfield and Ivory Joe Hunter. I always did want to sing that kind of blues ballad music but Sam Phillips (later of Sun Records) wouldn't let me''.

"After getting into trouble in Memphis. I moved to Chicago in 1946 before returning to Memphis in 1949. I went to an amateur show every Wednesday night at the Palace Theatre on Beale Street with two friends. At this time I wasn't really a musician myself but my friends knew I could sing. So this particular night in 1950 we had no wine money, so they wanted me to go on stage to sing to get the $5 prize money to buy the wine. Rufus Thomas was the MC and I only knew the one song ''Please Throw This Old Dog A Bone''. Then my friends threw a big huge bone up on the stage and I won first prize''.

"The next day, I'm invited to radio WDIA to be interwiewed by Nat D. Williams, the MC. So he interviewed me. I played the piano and did some singing that's all and they got so many cards and letters and telephone calls they invited me back. And that Monday I got my show at WDIA''.

"They had 15-minute shows, B.B. King had a show like that, Johnny Ace he had one, Joe Hill Louis, myself. After Nat Williams, then Rufus Thomas came in. So anyway I got the radio show and the station manager David James Mattis (later of Duke Records) put me together with Sam Phillips''.

"I always consider ''Booted'' for Chess was my first recording, so the early RPM releases were probably taken from demo sessions for Sam Phillips. The RPM sessions were cut in Memphis, Tennessee at Sam Phillips' studio, the YMCA and Tuff Green's House, and also at the Modern Studios in Beverly Hills. California. The RPM credit ''Roscoe Gordon'' is a stage name, he doesn't exist, it's Rosco Gordon''.

Extracts from an unpublished taped interview by John Broven in New York City on May 19, 1986. with a further telephone interview on June 29, 1998.


1 - No More Doggin' (3:10) 1952 RPM 350
2 - Rosco's Boogie (2:45) 1951 RPM 322
3 - City Woman (3:18) 1951 RPM 322
4 - Ouch! Pretty Baby (2:36) 1951 RPM 324
5 - Saddled The Cow (And Milked The Horse) (2:53) 1951 RPM 324
6 - Dime A Dozen (2:35) 1951 RPM 336
7 - A New Remedy For Love (2:15) 1951 RPM 336
8 - Booted (3:08) 1952 RPM 344
9 - Cold Cold Winter (3:12) 1952 RPM 344
10 - Maria (2:34) 1952 RPM 350
11 - New Orleans Wimmen (2:33) (1952 RPM 358
12 - I Remember Your Kisses (3:03) 1952 RPM 358
13 - Two Kinds Of Women (3:02) 1952 RPM 365
14 - What You Got On Your Mind (1:54) 1952 RPM 365
15 - Dream Baby (Dream On Baby) (2:59) 1952 RPM 369
16 – Trying (3:30) 1998 Previously Unissued Alternate Take of RPM 369
17 - Lucille (Looking For My Baby) (2:44)1952 RPM 373
18 - Blues For My Baby (2:59) 1952 RPM 373
19 - Just In Texas (2:42) 1953 RPM 379
20 - I'm In Love (2:46) 1953 RPM 379
21 - Tomorrow May Be Too Late (2:20) 1953 RPM 384
22 - We're All Loaded (Whiskey Made Me Drunk) (3:13) 1953 RPM 384
23 - Why Do I Love You Baby (3:01) 1980 Ace LP CH26
24 - Throwin' My Money Away (3:22) 1998 Previously Unissued Alternate Take
Original RPM Recording

Rosco's Reflections
Sam Phillips and His Studio

"The Phillips studio in its early days was like a hole. It was just something Sam had slammed together, It was just something Sam had slammed together a recording studio, just a hole in the wall with the backs out of the recording equipment - and Sam using his soldering iron. his pliers and whatever. But he put it together. You didn't get out of the studio until you got it right. He's the best, tell you he's the best. He generated enthusiasm and energy. He gives it you. It was Sam who arranged the first recording deals with RPM and Chess''.

''Booted'' (Chess v RPM)
"The Chess version was the happiest session. I got the WDIA radio show and the station manager David Mattis put me together with Sam Phillips. And Courtney Harris had the tune ''Booted''. He left the lyric sheet on the studio piano. and Sam Phillips asked me if I wanted to record it, We didn't have a second side so - Bobby Bland was my chauffeur at the time - I wrote the other side ''Love You 'Til The Day I Die''. Bobby Bland and I we sang that together. But it didn't go any place. That was the first song I wrote. I got paid $100 for this session''.

"I did the same tune "Booted'' for Modern, for RPM. Modern gave me $600 to do the same song, so I'm gonna do it. I don't care who you are, you gonna give me $600, I'm gonna do it. But here's a guy (Chess) don't give me nothing so anybody else come round with a bankroll, he can get me. Didn't know any better and I didn't care. But Chess would not touch me with a tenfoot pole after that''.

''No More Doggin'
"I got a girlfriend. Pete, I took her with me to the dance, meet another girl, Peggy. So Pete's sitting on the piano stool beside me. So I know her time is up. So I begin to sing, ''No More Doggin''', foolin' around with you...', told the tenor player to take it up. And the next day we made the record ''No More Doggin'". Ike Turner set up the thing at Tuff Green's house because of the Bihari Brothers' spats with Sam Phillips and Chess. I did ''No More Doggin'" and B.B. King did ''3 0'CIock Blues'' the same day."

Duke Records
"David James Mattis, the station manager at WDIA, set up some kind of arrangement there. The Duke records I just banged them together. said 'OK. pay me'. Don Robey insisted that record shuffles with Billy ''Red'' Love on piano. Didn't make no difference, because Robey had always talked about what he would do to me, you know. But I was recording for RPM at the same time as Duke''.

The Bands
''I had a Memphis band and a road band. The Memphis band was used mostly on recordings, Willie Wilkes. he played tenor saxophone. He was an old guy at the time, good player. I mean he was tight, he was like my father and me being so young. Richard Sanders was the great baritone, he had the guts and that, I tell you. There was Raymond Thomas, alto saxophone and Manson (drums). For sessions I also used Adolph Duncan (tenor saxophone). Billy 'Red' Love (piano), Pat Hare (guitar) and Tuff Green (bass)''.

"On the road. I had E. Jefferson and Harvey Simmons (tenor saxophones), Billy ''Red'' Love (piano), Murry Daley (drums) with pick-up bass players. I toured with Tuff Green's band as well''.

''My main gig was in Mason. Tennessee, Doyle's Nitespot. I played Arkansas, Brinkley, The Club Eldorado in Little Rock, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, all over Mississippi and West Memphis and Club Handy on Beale Street, Memphis. The audiences were very enthusiastic cause I had a new sound''.

To this credit, Rosco (who is still an active performer, recording artist and composer living in New York (1998) does not dwell on past misfortunes. He has been hit much harder by the loss of his many song copyrights - "they were taken, you couldn't say they were stolen" - than his unsettling label jaunts.

"Look, we were young'', he confides. "We were enjoying what we were doing. Man. was so hot! Every time I looked around I had a new record out. At 18 or 19, I had the best of everything - big Cadillac, the sharpest clothes, $200 shoes, girls... had so much fun. I tell you, but I didn't know anything about the business side. I get as big a thrill out of playing now as I did then. The same thrill, the same enthusiasm, the same energy, everything. It's still there. It doesn't just disappear..''.

Rosco's Rhythm will always be an integral part of American - and Jamaican - music history, and these RPM recordings are where it all began. Yes, he really was that hot!

John Broven, 1998

Special thanks: Rosco Gordon; Chris Bentley (for transcribing the original intenview), Victor Pearlin for dubbing his rare records and the label shots Mike Rowe of Blues Unlimited Magazine for the loan of two splendid photographs, Walter De Venne, Rien Wisse ('Block' magazine), Richard Tapp and Paul Harris (Juke Blues magazine), and Galen Gart. 

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


© January 26, 1999 Collectables (CD) 500/200rpm COL CD 6018 mono
Bill Justis' "Raunchy," with its string-bending guitar riff and honking sax, is one of the classic rock and roll instrumentals. It was also one of the most successful, topping the Cash Box pop charts and the Billboard Rhythm And Blues charts in 1957. Raunchy: The Very Best of Bill Justis rounds up all of Justis' singles for the Sun Records subsidiary Phillips International and then some, clocking in with 19 tracks of rock instrumentals, easy listening sax solos with and without a vocal chorus, and a couple of actual vocal songs. The minor hit "College Man" has a brief vocal at the end, but "Midnight Man" and the calypso-flavored "Faraway" are sung start to finish by Justis himself. There are enough rockers here to satisfy "Raunchy" fans, but there are also some surprisingly diverse sounds in between.

Summer Holiday
Cloud Nine
The Stranger
Flea Circus
The Snuggle
Midnight Man
College Man
Bop Train
String Of Pearls Cha Cha
Wild Rice
The Stinger
Flip Flop and Bop
Original Sun Recording
© 2000 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 265 mono digital

The Original Memphis Blues Brothers is an expanded version of the 1989 Ace album (Ace CHAD 265)  compiled by Ray Topping. The new version has been compiled by John Broven, with liner notes Chris  Bentley. This CD is a wonderful snapshot of the vibrant early 1950s blues/rhythm and blues scene in  Memphis, and contains much material not on the vinyl release, as well as hitherto unissued sides. New and  fresh information on the artists and music has been gleaned from a specially conducted interview in March  2000 with Joe Bihari, one of three brothers for whose Modern/RPM/Meteor labels this music was originally  recorded.

Artists featured on the CD include B.B. King, with alternate takes of his first two 78rpm releases for RPM  Records, these tracks represent early output from the Memphis Recording Service owned and operated by  Sam Phillips at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, and later to be the home of the legendary Sun label. Also to be  heard are artists still working as active musicians to this day, but thrusting and ambitious back in 1951/1952,  men such as Rosco Gordon (no duplication with Bootin - The Best Of The RPM Years - Ace CDCHD 694),  Ike Turner and the young Bobby Bland, whose vocal style so affected women at Bobby's gigs such as to keep  lingerie manufacturers gainfully employed for many years!

Bland went on to fashion a lengthy recording career during the 1950s and 1960s with Duke Records in  Houston, in common with another artist who followed the same trail from Tennessee to Texas, Junior Parker.  Junior only had one release for Modern Records, but he is accompanied by Matt ''Guitar'' Murphy, later to  appear in "The Blues Brothers" movie, life-imitating art! Two other Memphis musicians recorded by the  Bihari brothers, but spirited away by arch hustler Don Robey of Duke Records were Johnny Ace and Earl  Forest. Ace was to blow his brains out backstage at the Houston City Auditorium on Christmas Day 1954,  but thankfully Earl Forest is still with us and has recently been rediscovered and interviewed.

All these artists, most of them now household names of the blues world, made their seminal recordings for  the Bihari brothers, and if there is not actually a blood relationship between these giants of the post-war  black music scene, there is certainly an affinity of filial proportions. Ace is proud to collect this music  together on a CD of tough rockin' blues and rhythm and blues from the city on the Mississippi.

Good Lovin' (Bobby Bland)
rifting From Town To Town (Bobby Bland)
Dry Up Baby (Bobby Bland)
Crying All Night Long (Bobby Bland)
Love Me Baby (Bobby Bland)
Bad Women, Bad Whiskey (Little  Junior Parker)
You're My Angel (Little Junior Parker)
She Calls Me Daddy (aka Whole Heap Of Mama)  (Earl Forest)
I Wronged A Woman (Earl Forest)
Can't Forgive You (Earl Forest)
Sad And Lonely (Earl  Forest)
Rumpus Romp (Instrumental) (Earl Forest)
Trouble And Me (Earl Forest)
I Cried (Johnny Ace)
Midnight Hours Journey (Johnny Ace)
B. B. Boogie (B.B. King)
Mistreated Woman (B.B. King)
The  Other Night Blues (B.B. King)
Walkin' And Cryin' (B.B. King)
You're Driving Me Insane (Ike Turner)
Trouble And Heartaches (Ike Turner)
That Gal Of Mine (Rosco Gordon)
So Tired (Rosco Gordon)
Run To  Me Baby (Rosco Gordon)
She Rocks Me (Rosco Gordon)
Don't Have To Worry 'Bout You No More (Rosco  Gordon)
Original Modern/RPM/Meteor Recording
© 2000 Pulse Records (CD) 500/200rpm PBX CD 336 mono digital
United Kingdom box-set presents a comprehensive overview of one of the world's best-known independent record labels. This 3 CD set includes many of Sun's sought after blues recordings as well as waxings by its country, hillbilly and pop artists, included 60 tracks and housed in a slipcase.

Disc 1 Contains
Matchbox (Carl Perkins)
Breathless (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Mystery Train (Little Junior's Blue Flames)
Gimme Some Love (Harold Jenkins)
Right Behind You Baby (Ray Smith)
My Babe (Narvel Felts)
Flying Saucers Rock And Roll (Billy Riley)
Just Walkin' In The Rain (The Prisonaires)
Everlasting Love (Barbara Pittman)
Rockhouse (Roy Orbison)
When It Rains It Pours (Billy Emerson)
Red Headed Woman (Sonny Burgess)
Lend Me Your Comb (Carl Perkins)
Take A Little Chance (Jimmy De Berry)
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Somebody Told Me (Little Milton)
Love My Baby (Hayden Thompson)
Got Love If You Want It (Warren Smith)
Home Of The Blues (Johnny Cash)
Mona Lisa (Carl Mann)
Original Sun Recordings

Disc 2 Contains
Rockin' With My Baby (Malcolm Yelvington)
Rebound (Charlie Rich)
Raunchy (Bill Justis)
Mean Little Mama (Roy Orbison)
Ten Cats Down (The Miller Sisters)
Rockin' Daddy (Eddie Bond)
What I'd Say (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Bear Cat (Rufus Thomas)
Shake Around (Ray Smith)
I Done Told You (Gene Simmons)
Put Your Cat Clothes On (Carl Perkins)
Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox (Onie Wheeler)
Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache (Warren Smith)
Come Back Baby (Doctor Ross)
Nothin' Shakin' (Linda Gail Lewis)
Your Lovin' Man (Vernon Taylor)
Domino (Roy Orbison)
Itchy (Sonny Burgess)
Red Hot (Billy Emerson)
I Walk The Line (Johnny Cash)
Original Sun Recordings

Disc 3 Contains
Feeling Good (Little Junior's Blue Flames)
Lonely Weekends (Charlie Rich)
Welcome To The Club (Jean Chapel)
High School Confidential (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Break Up Ray Smith)
Easy (Jimmy & Walter)
Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins)
Flatfoot Sam (Tommy Blake)
Rock Baby Rock It (Johnny Carroll)
Baby Please Don't Go (Billy Riley)
Tough Tough Tough (Andy Andersen)
Rock 'n' Roll Ruby (Warren Smith)
Rabbit Action (Jimmy Haggett)
Pretend (Carl Mann)
I'm Getting Better All The Time (Barbara Pittman)
Slow Down (Jack Earls)
So Long Baby (Sammy Lewis & Willie Johnson)
We Wanna Boogie (Sonny Burgess)
Wild One (Real Wild Child) (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Fairlane Rock (Hayden Thompson)
Original Sun Recording

© 2001 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 803 mono digital

Compact disc. An Ace Special Product. Red label. The letters Modern Records pressed in silver on top of the label. On the back cover of the box, Modern and Ace logo at bottom, catalog number in upper right. The Important blues recordings of Memphis one-man-band Joe Hill Louis cut for Modern and Meteor between 1950 and 1953. Many of the recordings were produced by Sam Phillips, later of Sun Records. Also included in the box, 15-page booklet biography, with liner notes by John Broven, Peter Gibbon and Dave Sax. The booklet also features rare and previously unpublished photos and a detailed session file information by Bruce Bromberg and Frank Scott.

Sam Phillips Talking About Joe Hill Louis

"I had heard of Joe Hill Louis before I ever met him. I cannot remember where, but I do know' that I was aware of him. I knew that he was this blues singer, this one-man-band, who would be seen and heard around town back in those days. It was well known that he played various places within a 30 or 40 mile radius of Memphis''.

''Matter of fact, if I am not mistaken, the first time I ever saw Joe Hill he was on his way to play a show at Moscow, Tennessee, about forty miles away. He played there a lot, it turned out. On this occasion, I was down at the studio working on getting the building right. This was before we were open for business, before we got all the walls built right to our needs. Joe just called in. He had heard something was happening and he wanted to know what was going on. I said. 'I'm going to build a recording studio here once get the building into shape'. He said, 'Man, that's just what we need here in Memphis'. He explained to me that he was a recording artist - for Columbia and that he was ready to make some more records''.

''So Joe was in even before the beginning. He was the first black artist, I believe, to make contact with me at that time. Then, later on, after I had recorded him, he would help me out by spreading the word around the community that here was a man who might be able to do something in music. I think he was responsible for suggesting to Jack Kelly and Charlie Burse and other musicians that they should come to see me''.

''Joe Hill was a very likeable person. He was the kind of person to just drop in and say 'hi' and then keep out of the way if it was not his session. He just remind you he was around in that way. Joe Hill was always well dressed, sharp, a dapper man. He was well organised. He was a treasure, to me. He was a very entertaining man, and by that I do not mean a lot of jokes, just that he put on a good show and was very personable. He was fairly unique. He was a kind of a loner, but extremely friendly. He enjoyed being around and being involved, he liked to have an attachment to what was happening, but never in a way that was too closely involved. He was a loner, but not lonesome, if you understand me. He was his own person. I never saw him look defeated or unhappy about anything. Everyone liked Joe Hill that knew him''.

''Joe was a sweet guy. When I had the studio finished and invited him in to record, he said, 'Well. man, this is going to be nice'. Then he sat down at his equipment and played me everything he knew, which was quite a lot''.

''Joe Hill had some very interesting approaches to things. He was a complete individual as a musician - he had his own style that he had evolved himself. I believe that he was self-taught as a musician, and he played things just however he saw them. or heard them. and I liked that. He liked to listen to Arthur Crudup and T-Bone Walker, to my memory, from the records, but he also knew many of the local musicians. He wrote many of his own songs, though of course a lot of it was taken from something or other somewhere. But again it often came out very personal to him''.

''Joe played guitar and harmonica and bass drum all at the same time. He had a harmonica holder around his neck. At times he would get the effect of singing through the harmonica into the mike. It was a style he had developed. He was that kind of person. He would go his own way. When I first heard him, I just thought. 'this is a guy that deserves to be heard', even though I realized that it was basically a novelty kind of thing''.

''When we were in the studio, usually it was just Joe and me on our own. He would play something and we would talk and then he would play another and we would decide what to record. Joe really did not like to record with anyone else. He had developed his one-man show and his instrumentation and that was what he liked to do. He would never have said to me that he not work with other people, but I quickly found out that he really wanted to record on his own''.

''But I always thought I could do a little better with Joe Hill than I did do. I liked unusual things in music, and I was always looking for that spark of individuality. The problem was that he had gotten so used to doing his own thing. Recording Joe was a challenge to me. With Joe Hill, most everything he wanted to play was in 4/4s. He had to play those fast 4/4s at his clubs and around town. That was what drew the crowd, and Joe couldn't adapt really. Joe never could really get a hold of a ballad - I mean a low down dirty blues ballad now - because the mechanics of the instruments he was playing were against that. I did try to get him into some more 2/4 time, and we did try different people working with him. I felt I could have miked him better or arranged the instruments differently, and the fact that we didn't was really my fault''.

''Because I think did get a better sound with Doctor Ross, for instance. Ross had a very special sound. He had a great command of his music and a real instinct for what was going on around him. ''Chicago Breakdown'' is one of the better records I think ever heard in my life. If I am allowed to say that''.

''Joe Hill. Though, had certain limitations, vocally, in truth, but they were never so much as to prevent us doing something with him. It did make me want to record him just with his harmonica though, without the other instruments to distract him. You can hear on ''Eyesight To The Blind'' that his vocal is so much more focused and upfront, for instance. The piano gave that recording a much more solid rhythmic foundation. Ford Nelson was an accomplished piano player. He worked at WDIA along with Joe Hill and he was an easy-going guy, the perfect accompanist. ''Eyesight'' was a song that was very popular locally and we really wanted to get a good cut on it. It was a song Joe brought in that he had learned from Sonny Boy Williamson''.

''The first record with Joe Hill came about because I had been fooling around recording him and I mentioned this to (disc jockey) Dewey Phillips. Now Dewey liked Joe Hill very much, and Dewey was on the air. He wanted to promote Joe, he really wanted to do something with him. so that was when we decided to go into the record business. The song Dewey liked was ''Boogie In The Park''. It was a song Joe played a lot, and it was associated with him''.

''Though I am not sure whether he first played it in Handy Park or the other little park along there, or whether it was Russwood Park where Joe used to play when the Memphis Red Socks were in town. They were the black baseball team in those days. The white team was the Memphis Chicks''.

''Another of Joe's songs was 'Gotta Go Baby''. It had a clapping accompaniment by a friend of Joe's who used to do a tap dance routine With him sometime where he played. 'I Feel Like A Million'' is the song that really tells it all about what there is to know about Joe Hill's music. He played infectious, good time blues. That was him. ''Street Walkin' Woman'' is another one I remember, because of the fine guitar solo on that one. ''Heartache Baby'' was about as good a slow blues as I think I ever recorded on Joe. But maybe ''Cold Chills'' was the best slow one, that was another song he said he had taught to him by Sonny Boy Williamson. Joe would also play that John Lee Hooker riff that was very popular at the time''.

''Saul and Jules Bihari had found out from Don Pierce at 4-Star that I was building a recording studio, and they wanted me to record some music for them. So I did do that for a little time. It was on a shake-hand deal. I had shake-hand deals with everyone. But it turned into being a problem with Saul and Jules. We had a misunderstanding, you could say. And there was no place in my life for that kind of thing. So I went back to recording Joe Hill and the other artists for my own label, and Saul and Jules arranged with Lester Bihari to make recordings for them. Les was all right and we had no problems between us, though I am not sure how well the three of them got on together in fact''.

''All the time Joe was a musician, he also had a day job with the Canale family, who I knew slightly but never really in connection with Joe. They were wealthy and well thought of, and I knew that they could depend on him. He was the perfect person to have around. That was why he only played his own little circuit within 30 miles or so. He would always be back in time to work the next day''.

''I never did see Joe Hill play his music outside of my studio, I promised him I would go out to watch him, but I was so busy with the studio and with radio WREC and one thing and another. After a while I got where it was so busy that Joe just drifted off. Then, later on. I heard he had stepped on a rusty nail and died. That was really sad. Too many good people die for no good reason in this world. It was a real shame''.

Interview by Martin Hawkins, May 1, 2000

1 - Heartache Baby (3:00) 1951 Modern 20-795
2 - I Feel Like A Million (2:28) 1951 Modern 20-795
3 - Cold Chills (2:35) 1951 Modern 20-813
4 - Boogie In The Park (2:46) 1951 Modern 20-813
5 - Walkin' Talkin' Blues (2:39) 1951 Modern 20-822
6 - Come Back Baby (Great Big House) (3:00) 1995 P-Vine CD 22002
7 - Mistreat Me Woman (3:06) 1973 Polydor LP 2383.214
8 - Big Legged Woman (2:34) 1951 Modern 839
9 - Going Down Slow (2:38) 1951 Modern 20-828
10 - Train Ticket (Key To The Highway) (2:44) 1972 Polydor LP 2383.214
11 - Broke And Hungry (Blue In The Morning) (2:33) 1973 Polydor LP 2383.214
12 - Highway 99 (2:26) 1970 Kent LP 9002
13 - Gotta Go Baby (2:28) 1951 Modern 839
14 - Street Walkin' Woman (3:17) 1951 Modern 20-822
15 - Early In The Morning (Near About The Break Of Day) (2:37) 1995 P-Vine CD 22002
16 - Joe Hill Boogie (Boogie Woogie All Night) (2:25) 1995 P-Vine CD 22002
17 - The Way You Treat Me (2:47) 1970 Kent LP 9002
18 - Eyesight To The Blind (2:36) 1951 Modern 20-828
19 - Peace Of Mind (2:44) 1952 Modern 856
20 - Chocolate Blonde (2:49) 1952 Modern 856
21 - Twisting And Turning (On The Floor) (3:06) 1962 Crown CLP 5240
22 - Western Union Man (3:07) 1970 Kent LP 9002
23 - I Love My Baby (2:35) 1973 Polydor LP 2383.214
24 - Keep Away From My Baby (2:36) 1995 P-Vine CD PVC 22002
25 - At The Woodchopper's Ball (Jack Pot) (2:05) 2001 Previously Unissued
26 - She Broke Up My Life (She Got Me Walkin') (3:15) 1995 P-Vine CD PVC 22002
27 - Good Morning Little Angel (2:38) 1987 Ace LP CHA 216
28 - Backslide Boogie (3:00) 1962 Crown CLP 5240

1, 2, 10, 11 Recorded July 27, 1950 at Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
3, 4, 7, 14 Recorded November 27, 1950 at Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
5, 6, 9, 17 Recorded Circa December 1950 at Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
8, 12, 13, 15, 16, Recorded April 30, 1951 at Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
18 Recorded May 30, 1951 at Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
19, 20, Recorded Early 1952 at Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 Recorded February 24, 1953 at Unknown Studio, Memphis, Tennessee
All tracks Joe Hill Louis (vocal, harmonica, guitar, hi-hat, bass drum), except track 18 vocal,
harmonica only, with Ford Nelson (piano) and Unknown (drums)

Original Sun Recordings owned by Ace Records Ltd

The Music And Records Of Joe Hill Louis

Sam Phillips produced nearly all of the best Joe Hill Louis recordings. After recording two raw sides for the 'It's The Phillips label, Phillips was able to secure an arrangement that resulted in a series of records for Modern. Except for the experimental ''Eyesight To The Blind'', Joe played alone on these sides and was billed as "The One-Man-Band. Our listening program begins with the near perfection heard on the first two Modern 78s. ''Heartache Baby'' is a slow blues of the type that Phillips was looking for in Joe's work. The vocal and harmonica are the lead instruments with the guitar chording and the drums in perfectly synchronized support. 'I Feel Like A Million'' begins with a wonderful riffing between the harmonica and guitar with the latter taking up a boogie motif behind the vocals. Also included, ''Broke And Hungry'' is an early alternate from the song's evolution phase. It has previously been mistitled ''Blue In The Morning''. A good number of alternate takes exist and it is apparent that Louis, in common with many a country bluesman, came into the studio with only the basic idea for his new songs.

Phillips has always had the ability and the willingness to persist with an artist that had the innate talent that he was looking for. He worked hard and long with a promising artist and the Louis takes selected for original release are routinely superior to the others. Joe was not an easy musician to work with, frequently unprepared and sometimes careless. In the sessions that followed, he tended to move toward an emphasis on the guitar as a lead instrument. The harmonica is more often used for fills, sometimes quite erratically. Joe could pick a fine guitar but could just as soon go quite out of tune, which made him unreliable as a sideman.

''Boogie In The Park'', the follow-up record, stayed in what might be called the classic one-man-band styling while the reverse side, John Lee (Sonny Boy) Williamson's ''Cold Chills'', is the first and one of the best of is slow guitar dominated blues.. Other similarly fine performances include St. Louis Jimmy's ''Going Down Slow'' and an alternate take of ''Street Walkin' Woman'' (the acetate of the original 78 is irreparably damaged). The latter performance would have ruled it out for release because it stumbles near the beginning but it does include two very fine and low down guitar solos. John Lee Hooker's guitar is brought to mind at times and a couple of the unissued sides reflect Muddy Waters' influence. ''Big Legged Woman'' reverts to chorded guitar, taken at breakneck speed, as does the 16-bar ''Walkin' Talkin' Blues'', with its fine and lilting harp intro. Joe sometimes seems to anticipate rock and roll, as he does here on ''Gotta Go Baby''. It includes the accompanying ''clapping'' or ''bones'\ that Sam Phillips recalls.

Joe did get entangled in the Chess-Bihari-Phillips wars and new research makes it apparent that the Biharis recorded his sixth and final Modern record in early 1952 during their own field recordings. It is notable that the usual spark and enthusiasm is absent in ''Peace Of Mind'' and ''Chocolate Blonde''. The latter is actually quite an inferior performance with a torturously slow boogie guitar break that goes out of tune at the ninth bar. Joe had a habit of doing this on slow numbers but none had reached release before. It appeared almost simultaneously with a Phillips produced record on Checker. This was a period of change as Phillips shifted a tough combo outing with Joe only on guitar for ''Dorothy Mae''. ''When Gone'' features Joe's dangerously amplified guitar accompanied only by the insistent thud of his bass drum. By the time of the exciting November/December sessions for his lone Sun single, Joe had amplified his harp and Phillips uses Willie Nix for the drums. These sessions can be heard on Joe Hill Louis: The Be-Bop Boy (Bear Family BCD 15524).

Joe's Meteor session in February of 1953 returns to a one-man-band format and is the second focal point of this collection. It was recorded during a Modern field trip and not by Lester Bihari himself as has sometimes been speculated. On return to the West Coast, very anonymous bass and drums were overdubbed to the four sides slated for release. This addition basically only served to dilute the sound. The original undubbed recordings are used in this collection. ''Western Union Man''/ ''Jack Pot'' as by Chicago Sunny Boy was a good seller but would have been of unlikely long-term value to Joe's career. The pseudonym, which even fooled researchers for years, suggests that his contract with the Biharis had by this time ended. ''Jack Pot'' is actually Woody Herman's ''At The Woodchopper's Ball'' and Joe's superb performance was indicated as such on the tape box. Two takes exist with both equally meriting inclusion, but the shorter previously unissued and looser alternate take is heard here.

Exceptionally fine are two further instrumentals (originally logged as ''Boogie'' and ''Boogie No.2'') which eventually came out on the Howling Wolf Crown LP as ''Twisting And Turning'' and ''Backslide Boogie'' respectively. The rock solid ''Twisting And Turning'' has never been on CD and it is a more deliberate and superior take to that originally issued as ''On The Floor'' on the rare second Meteor 78. A glance at the discography reveals that the undubbed version of this take no longer exists while ''She Broke Up My Life'' is the correct title for ''She Got Me Walkin'''.This title had been assigned to another take of the same song, which now only exists as a fragment due to tape damage. ''Good Morning Little Angel'' is a pretty weak adaptation of Sonny Boy's ''School Girl'' but this Meteor session still finds Joe in absolute top form with wonderful cohesion between the instruments. It occupies a unique place in his discography as the only full one-man-band session recorded with amplified harp.

Joe returned to Sun a couple of months later to cut scintillating versions of his two most commercial songs - ''Tiger Man'' and ''Hydramatic Woman'' with a band including Walter Horton on harmonica but no release at the time resulted. A mystery version of the latter song by Louis with a full rhythm and blues band was eventually released by 4-Star on their Big Town subsidiary in 1954. Clearly taken from an old acetate, it is very likely an earlier version sent by Phillips to Don Pierce at 4-Star during the time of their earlier dealings. All that would follow during Joe's tragically short life would be two chaotic 1953 sessions held at a radio station with George Lawson's band for Henry Stone's Rockin' label - followed by an unissued session for Johnny Vincent the next year. Later on, there was a strange record on Vendor (taken from a radio broadcast) and a very rocking 1957 record on House Of Sound, which proved that Joe Hill Louis's talent was still intact for the talented producer who could capture it - just as Sam Phillips had done.

- Dave Sax, January 2001

Discography by John Broven, Peter Gibbon and Dave Sax with acknowledgments to Bruce Bromberg and Frank Scott for their original archive research work.

Note that at least one version of each surviving piece recorded by Sam C. Phillips for release on Modern Records is included in this collection. Unissued alternate takes are not listed. The only other known recording is "Nappy Head Woman" (an alternate take of "Gotta Let You GO" recorded for the "It's The Phillips" label) which was sent to Modern as a demo. Also listed are the 1952/1953 sessions, which were recorded by Modern. The titles in brackets indicate alternative usage in the past, however we have reverted to the correct titles for this CD; please note that most re-titles appear by mistake as unissued sides in previous discographies. For clarity, the original release of each track is noted only. Special thanks to Sam Phillips for his interview to Chris Bentley, Martin Hawkins and Dave Sax; and to Steve LaVere and Mike Leadbitter for their original research work.

"Wheelin' On Beale" by Louis Cantor (Pharos Books, New York 1992)
"Blues Records 1943-1970 Volume 2" L-Z by Mike Leadbitter, Leslie Fancourt & Paul Pelletier
(Record Information Services, London, 1994)
Notes by Steve LaVere on the Joe Hill Louis Polydor LP 2383.214.
Labels courtesy John Broven
Adverts courtesy First Pressings: The History of R&B by Galen Gart (Big Nickel Publications)

For Biography of Joe Hill Louis see: > The Sun Biographies <
Joe Hill Louis' Modern/Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© 2004 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 1003 mono digital

Ace Records' third volume of The Modern Downhome Blues Sessions lives up to the standards set by its  predecessors. This volume starts off in Memphis, with recordings that Sam Phillips shopped to Modern/RPM  in 1950/1951. Phillips and the Biharis fell out when Chess was sent and had a hit with Jackie Brenston's  ''Rocket 88'', but before that Modern acquired some classics from Phillips. Memphis On Down begins with  Willie Nix (was there ever a greater singing drummer?) accompanied by Willie Johnson's slash-and-burn  guitar. There's more Johnson on Howling Wolf's ''Riding In The Moonlight'' and ''Crying At Daybreak'' (aka  ''Smokestack Lightning''), in the versions issued on 78rpm.

Also from Sam Phillips came a track a piece by Bobby Bland, with wonderful Matt Murphy guitar, and by  mouth harp genius Walter Horton ''Now Tell Me Baby'' also in its 78rpm version. One man band Joe Hill  Louis has four tracks, in both his ''be-bop boy'' and his down and dirty modes. Joe's friend Jim Lockhart also  offers contrasts, with the jiving ''Boogie Woogie Boogie'' and the droning, introverted ''Empty House Blues'',  a wonderful performance captured on a cleaned-up noisy acetate. Alfred "Blues King" Harris was an  associate of Walter Horton's. His two previously unreleased songs are believed to have come from Sam  Phillips but Modern probably thought they were too old-fashioned for release quite apart from the guitarist,  moved by Harris's lack of ''Sufficient Clothes'', wailing "Aw, shit, man!" on the track.

The Memphis recordings are followed by more of Joe Bihari and Ike Turner's field recordings. In Helena,  Arkansas in January 1952 they'd hoped to record Sonny Boy Williamson, but he would only play as an  accompanist, presumably out of loyalty to Lillian McMurry's Trumpet label. Nothing from this session was
issued on 78rpm, and as Jim O'Neal points out, the tracks do have their shortcomings: the sound balance is  off, guitarist W.C. Clay is a bit jazzy for this company, and the interplay between Sonny Boy and the other  harp player is sometimes raggedy. The second harmonica probably wasn't played by Drifting Slim,  incidentally. Still, these are important recordings by a version of the King Biscuit Entertainers, and the songs,  sung by veteran pianist "Dudlow" Taylor and drummer "Peck" Curtis, are a fine mix of tradition and  originals like Curtis's enigmatic ''Jerusalem Blues''.

The CD concludes a long way from the Mississippi River, in space if not in spirit. The Dixie Blues Boys  were recorded in Los Angeles in 1955, and researchers have had years of fun speculating about where in the  South they came from, and especially about who the two contrasting harmonica players were. Well, we know  their names at last, thanks to John Broven digging out the original contract, and Bob Eagle's research in the  census and Social Security records has produced some dates of birth and death.

Try Me One More Time (Willie Nix)
Lonesome Bedroom Blues (Willie Nix)
Riding In The Moonlight  (Howling Wolf)
Crying At Daybreak (aka Smokestack Lightning) (Howling Wolf)
Drifting From Town To  Town (Bobby Bland & Little Junior Parker)
Joe Hill Boogie (Joe Hill Louis)
Street Walkin' Woman (Joe  Hill Louis)
Heartache Baby (Joe Hill Louis)
Joe Hill Boogie (Take 2 Slow Version) (Joe Hill Louis)
Now  Tell Me Baby (Walter "Mumbles" Horton)
Boogie Woogie Baby (Boogie Woogie Boogie) (Jim Lockhart)
Empty House Blues (Jim Lockhart)
Sufficient Clothes (Alfred "Blues King" Harris)
Miss Darlene (Alfred  "Blues King" Harris)
Lonesome (Robert "Dudlow" Taylor)
Old Helena Blues (Robert "Dudlow" Taylor)
Bus Fare (James "Peck" Curtis)
44 Blues (James "Peck" Curtis)
Porkina Blues  (aka Dudlow's Blues) (Robert  "Dudlow" Taylor)
I Know (Robert "Dudlow" Taylor)
Jerusalem Blues (James "Peck" Curtis)
Dixie Blues  Boy Boogie (Dixie Blues Boys)
Monte Carlo Blues (Previously Unissued) (Dixie Blues Boys)
Let Me Go  Home Whiskey (Dixie Blues Boys)
My Baby Left Town (Dixie Blues Boys)
Monte Carlo Blues (Dixie  Blues Boys)
Original Modern/RPM Recording
© 2007 Big Beat Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDWIKD 267 mono digital

In 1964, when the British Invasion reared its ugly, to the established American record biz - head, Memphis’  original pathfinding rock and roll imprint, Sun Records, was in its twilight years. Sam Phillips was never a  follower of trends, but when his son Knox presented a fine example of the local grass roots reaction to the  British in the shape of the Radiants, Phillips acknowledged their talent, and signed the enthusiastic  youngsters to Sun. Their two singles on the iconic yellow label now count as the highlights of its latterday  catalogue.

True to the diffuse nature of its musical heritage, Memphis had an interesting and unpredictable take on  what the Beatles and their ilk inspired. Randy & The Radiants are an excellent example of this, and most  likely the earliest: slightly derivative perhaps, but certainly inspired in content. Though the garage rock  crowd know the band’s name for the crunchy chording of ''My Way Of Thinking'', the considerable cache of  Sun sessions from 1964 and 1966, the best of which are included upon ''Memphis Beat'', reveal the  Radiants as several fret-notches above the average teenage combo of the time.

There is the expected quotient of frat-band raunch and Anglicised rockabilly, while it is fascinating to hear  the band cover older Sun copyrights such as ''Boppin' The Blues'', but the true gems in the Radiants canon  are guitarist Bob Simon's contemplative originals, with their own mature blend of harmony and soul, akin  to that of the best British beat like the Searchers. The searing, irresistible ''Truth From My Eyes'' would  have made a great mid-period Hollies single, and tunes like ''To Seek And Then Find'', ''Nobody Walks Out  On Me'' or ''I Won’t Ask Why'' are so effortlessly Mersey in execution, it’s easy to forget the grandaddy of  rockabilly is behind the mixing desk. Add the warm, authoritative rasp of Randy Haspel, Memphis' answer  to Allan Clarke, and one can understand Sun's excitement in having found a local and commercially-potent  interpretation of the British beat.

As Haspel relates in a fascinating memoir included in the booklet to ''Memphis Beat'', the tremendous  promise of the Radiants was cut short just as they were hitting their stride, largely due to events beyond  their control. But any group should be proud of what Randy & The Radiants accomplished in what was a  relatively brief time together. That Knox and Sam Phillips helped them to their moment in the sun (pun  intended) is the icing on the cake. 

by Alec Palao

My Way Of Thinking (Sun 398)
Nobody Walks Out On My (Version 2)
Be Good While I'm Gone
Truth  From My Eyes (Sun 398)
You Are The One
Peek-A-Boo (Sun 395)
Boppin' The Blues
To Seek And  Then Find
Grow Up Little Girl
I Won't Ask Why (Version 1)
True And Sweet
Glad All Over
Hope We Meet Next Summer
Money (That's What I Want)
Blue Suede Shoes
The Mountain's High (Sun  395)
You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover
Dedicated To The One I Love
Walk Softly
Nobody Walks  Out On Me (Version 1)
I Won't Ask Why (Version 2)
A Love Of The Past
Turn On Your Lovelight
Original Sun Recording

© February 2008 Stomper Time Records (CD) 500/200rpm STCD 24 mono digital

Compact disc. An Stomper Time Product. Yellow label. Stomper Time logo pressed in black on top of the disc. Catalog number left from the center. On the back cover Stomper Time logo at left at top. This CD contains eight original Sun recordings from September 4, 5, 1956; four original Trumpet recordings, three from June 1952 session at the WFOR studio, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and one track from January 13, 1953 session at the WLAU studio in Laurel, Mississippi; and twelve original King recordings from 1953-1954. Also included in the box, 11-page booklet with rare and unissued photos of Luke McDaniel with liner notes and session information of each track by Dave Travis.

1 - Swichblade Sam (2:07) 1956
(Luke McDaniel-Red Smith) (MCPS)
2 - Daddy-O-Rock (2:16) 1956
(Luke McDaniel) (Mallory Music)
3 - Go Ahead Baby (1:54) 1956
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music
4 - Foxy Dan (2:30) 1956
(Carl Perkins) (Stairway Music)
5 - Huh Babe (2:08) 1956
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music
6 - Hey Woman (2:06) 1956
(Luke McDaniel) (Mallory Music)
7 - Whoa Boy (2:58) 1952
(Luke McDaniel) (MCPS)
8 - My Baby Don't Rock (1:57) 1956
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
9 - The Automobile Song (2:20) 1954
(Luke McDaniel) (Lois Music)
10 - Money Bag Woman (2:24) 1954
(Luke McDaniel) (Fort Knox-Trio Music)
11 - Uh Huh Huh (2:15) 1959
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
12 - I Can't Go' (2:13) 1953
(Luke McDaniel) (Lois Music)
13 - High High High (2:43) 1956
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
14 - Go Ahead Baby (2) (2:02) 1956
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
15 - One More Heart (2:10) 1955
(Luke McDaniel) (Lois Music)
16 - Huh Baby (2) (2:05) 1956
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
17 - Foxy Dan (2) (2:39)
(Carl Perkins) (Stairway Music)
18 - Hard Luck (1:28) 1960
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
19 - (That's) What I Tell My Heart (3:06) 1956
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
20 - She Told Me Goodbye, Bad Times (2:37) 2008
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
21 - Let Me Be A Souvenir (2:24) 1953
(Luke McDaniel) (Lois Music)
22 - Just Call Me A Loser (3:26) 2008
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
23 - Huh Baby (3) (2:07)
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
24 - Crying My Heart Out For You (2:00) (1954
(Luke McDaniel) (Lois Music)
25 - Lovebird Fly My Way (2:45) (2008)
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
26 - Just For Old Times Sake (2:50) 1953
Luke McDaniel) (Lois Music)
27 - Drive In (2:31) 1953
(Luke McDaniel) (Lois Music)
28 - You Can't Stop My Love (2:42) 2008
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
29 - Hurts Me So (2:28) 1954
(Luke McDaniel) (Lois Music)
30 - Honey Won't You Please Come Home (2:17) 1954
(Luke McDaniel) (Lois Music)
31 - I'm Tired Of These Country Ways (1:15) 1960
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
32 - Bye Bye Daddy (0:35)
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
33 - Bottoms Up (1:07) 1960
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
34 - You're Still On My Mind (2:40)
(Luke McDaniel-Red Smith) (Glad Music)

3, 5, 8, 13, 14, 16, 19, 23 Original Sun Recordings
Recorded September 4-5, 1956 at Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Luke McDaniel (vocal and guitar), Roland Janes (guitar), Brad Suggs (guitar),
Buddy Holobaugh (guitar), Marvin Pepper (bass), Martin Willis (tenor saxophone),
Johnny Bernery or Jimmy Van Eaton (drums), Jerry Lee Lewis (piano track 19)

2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 21, 24, 26, 27, 29, 30 Licensed by the Estate of Luke McDaniel

After World Was II myriads of young American men and women emerged from the southern states of the U.S.A., aspiring towards Hillbilly stardom in the wake of the burst of hope and new found energy engulfing the U.S.A. Such a hopeful was Luke Jefferson McDaniel, who was born February 3, 1927 in Laurel, Mississippi to Jesse and Viola McDaniel. With his parents separated early, Luke stayed with his mother until he left school at the age of 14, at which point he returned to Laurel to find a job. He shared lodgings with a local guitarist, Howard Overstreet, which helped to foster Luke's interest in the music of Gene Autry, Ernest Tubb and the Bailes Brothers. Luke's first job in Laurel was at the local cotton mill, where he worked with an aspiring musician Red Davis. After a mutually satisfactory trade with Red, Luke ended up with a mandolin, which he earned to play in a matter of months. Howard, Red and Luke formed a trio to work regularly on early morning local radio, which in turn, encouraged Luke to learn to play guitar. Luke decided that life at the cotton mill was not for him and the trio became a full time band, working the local night club scene.

The travelling "Jam Up and Honey Show'' starring Texas Ruby and Gabe Tucker came through Laurel and caught Luke's band in action and liked what they saw. They asked Luke to join the show, which he did, learning much from the sheer professionalism on display at every show. A major attraction for Luke, at this time, was the fact that Ruby and Gabe were regular recording artists, something that Luke was now strongly aspiring towards. Meeting and watching Hank Williams in 1950 and again in 1952, fired up the young McDaniel's energy even more and, in 1952, Luke approached Lillian McMurray of Trumpet Records in Jackson, Mississippi.

Lillian and her assistant, Howard Kelly, both liked Luke's style and his writing ability, prompting them to offer him a four song session working with Jimmy Swan's band. From that session ''Whoa Boy'' is probably the hit that never was, with strong guitar showing early leanings towards rockabilly. Luke also cut "A Tribute To Hank Williams - My Buddy" for Trumpet, which was ''drowned'' in the surfeit of Hank Williams tributes that emerged, after the singer's early death on January 1, 1953. ''Whoa Boy'' did well locally, especially in New Orleans, where local hot disc jockey Red Smith wore out the grooves.

By now Luke was appearing on local artist, Jack Cardwell's T.V. Show. Jack was already recording for King records and ironically did have a hit with a Hank Williams tribute disc ''The Death Of Hank Williams''. Jack introduced Luke to producer Bernie Pearlman and later, Syd Nathan, the owner of King. Nathan signed Luke to King and the new partnership kicked off with a very Hank Williams inspired session in June 1953. Recording for one of the biggest independents certainly helped Luke to secure many more shows, along with radio and TV appearances all through the south. During 1953-1954, Luke recorded twelve songs in three sessions for King to a consistently high standard, but, nothing broke away in the country charts and Luke, always irritated by poor royalty accounting, finally broke with King and moved to Mel-A-Dee records, based in New Orleans and owned by Mel Mallory. The result was a stunning one-off session, which produced the staggeringly good double-sider ''Daddy-O-Rock / ''Hey Woman'', both sides featuring the wonderful Lee Allen on tenor sax. Luke had met and seen Elvis perform in October 1954 at the Louisiana Hayride and became strongly influenced by this new rocking music, as can be heard on the Mel-A-Dee single, a huge transition from his King recordings.

The Mel-A-Dee single was released in 1955 and during the same year, Luke submitted a song he had written called "Midnight Shift'' to Buddy Killen at Tree Music. Being contracted already as a writer to Acuff-Rose, meant that Luke had to write under a pseudonym, in this instance, Earl Lee. Killen liked the demo that Luke made in the Tree office and succeeded in persuading the just emerging Buddy Holly to record it for Decca. Apparently it was eight years before Luke discovered that Buddy had recorded his song!

With the Mel-A-Dee single not exactly overheating the charts, Luke carried on playing the usual round of clubs plus TV and radio appearances. Sometime in 1956 he began making overtures to Sam Phillips in Memphis, which culminated in a musically wonderful session at Sun on September 4-5, 1956. Musically wonderful, but financially not so! It seems that Luke had expected to pick up a session fee for the studio and work time he had put in, but it was not to be. Whilst Sam paid all the musicians, he would not pay Luke stating that he did not pay session fees to artists. Apparently harsh words were exchanged between Sam and Luke culminating in a very angry Luke McDaniel storming out of the studio. Later, Luke was adamant that he only did the two day session at Sun in September 1956, despite claims to a second slightly later session. A change had also taken place in Luke's professional outlook. With the up and coming new rocking music, Luke decided to use the more commercial name of Jeff Daniels, which began with the Mel-A-Dee single. Not surprisingly perhaps, Sam decided not to issue any of Luke's recordings made at that session.

After the breakdown with Sun, a very frustrated Luke McDaniel carried on with his night club, radio and TV work along with working on the Grand Ole Opry Big Tent Show in 1957 with artists like the Everly Brothers, Jimmy C. Newman and Bill Monroe. The had just released ''Bye Bye Love'' and it was this pro-motional tour that propelled them to stardom, despite competition from Webb Pierce, who covered the song.

Tired of touring, Luke went home and formed Venus Records with a friend, John Russell. Only one single was issued but a very significant one in that ''You're Still On My Mind'' would come to be regarded as a country standard with a significant cover by George Jones.

A little later, Luke was doing a show in Bogalusa, Louisiana, when he met up with Carl Perkins. At this time Carl was still at the height of his ability to write great teen slanted rocking magic moments and he offered Luke the lyrically witty "Foxy Dan". Luke liked it and duly cut a terrificuversion at the Jimmy Rogers Studio, Mobile, Alabama in 1958. It was issued on Rogers own label ''Astro Records'', but again, a cracking good record made no impression on the Billboard charts and Luke took a job at a radio station in Hattiesburg. At this point and through the radio station, Luke came into contact with Hack Kennedy, who owned Big Howdy Records, a local independent, based at different times between Louisiana and Mississippi. Hack recorded a large number of local artists, covering a wide variety of music and, in general, holding to a high standard of artistry and musicianship. Hack also broke the traditional independent mould of issuing a handful of singles and ''shutting up shop''.

He ran the company with assistance from B.J. Johnson, a local artist and disc jockey for many years and built up a considerable catalogue between 1959 and the 1970s. Luke pacted with Big Howdy and kicked off in 1959 with the rockabilly classic ''Switchblade Sam''. While America was swooning to teen delights purveyed by Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Darin, Jimmy Clanton, Ricky Nelson and many more, down in the deep south, Luke McDaniel a.k.a. Jeff Daniels produced a raw, low down bar rocker, completely out of it's time frame, which probably got no further than Shreveport! Luke still had faith in ''Foxy Dan'' and duly recut it for Big Howdy, but this more commercial sounding version failed again. Luke also made a number of demos, which appeared on Big Howdy singles. Hack Kennedy would later move to Picayune, Mississippi, where it seems that Luke did a session or two at B.J. Johnson's Studio, some of which is issued here for the first time. By this time the days of Jeff Daniels, rockabilly man were over and the country singer Luke McDaniel reappeared.

The relationship with Hack Kennedy had also ended and Luke started a trucking company in Baton Rouge, as he had a large family to feed and music wasn't doing it.

For a brief moment, Luke almost was caught up in the film business composing the theme song ''Run Boy Run'' for a Tex Ritter film "Girl from Tobacco Road''. This ended swiftly, when Luke wasn't even credited on the screen credits and ended up once again with no royalties. The trucking company worked well and in 1980, Luke was tempted back into the studio to make four tracks for Duell records, yet another small independent. One single was issued, which saw only local action. In 1983, he tried again with Duell, but again nothing happened. This ended Luke's recording career for almost ten years, until he was finally tempted back during 1991-92 for a series of fine country music sessions, which ultimately produced the CD ''You're Still On My Mind'', released in Sweden by CMC Records in 1995.

In forty years of recording Luke McDaniel and Jeff Daniels started out on a shellac 78 rpm single and ended on the technological wizardry of the CD. Yet despite great recordings and great songs, Luke never had the good fortune of national hit parade records, something a man of his talent undoubtably deserved. Luke McDaniel died on June 27, 1992 and hopefully this long overdue CD collection will serve as a suitable memorial to his talent.

- Dave Travis, February 2008

Tracks 3/5/8/13/14/16/19/23 Licensed from Sun Entertainment by arrangement with Smith & Co.
Tracks Licensed by arrangement with the Estate of Luke McDaniel.

With Thanks to Bo Berglind, ''Big'' Al Turner, Tony Wilkinson, Paul Smith, Tony Biggs and Bob Thomas of Bim Bam Records.
With Thanks to Hans-Peter Zdrenka for supplying some superb photos of Luke McDaniel.
A special mention should be made for Claes-Hakan Olofsson, who willingly provided copies of
interviews and all his extensive written research into the life of Luke McDaniel.
With acknowledgments to Phil Tricker of the much missed ''Roll Street Journal" and to Klaus Kettner of Hydra Records. 

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


© November 24, 2008 Big Beat Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDWIKD 282 mono digital

It’s remarkable to ponder the fact that, as thoroughly as the vaults of the legendary Sun Records have been  mined over the forty years since Sam Phillips shut up shop in 1967, some of the best rock and roll the label  produced has remained hidden until now. I speak of course of the incredible Jesters, and the small but  incendiary collection of recordings they made at Sun in 1965. True, a few bits and pieces have snuck out  over the years, but always with the implication that, aside from their well regarded 1966 single ''Cadillac  Man'', the rest of the band's material was substandard British Invasion-influenced fare.  A quick listen to the hair-raising contents of ''Cadillac Men'' will show just how blindingly wrong that idea  is. This is some of the most cathartic and crazed 60s rock I have ever come across, comparable to Dean  Carter or the Sonics in its sheer power and fury. As the Sun historians know, playing guitar for the Jesters  was Sam's son Jerry, along with a quixotic individual by the name of Teddy Paige, whose leads are the  proverbial headless chicken of rockabilly yore, hot-rodded with a corrosive blues edge. Add to that a  pumping rhythm section and the soulful bawling of lead singer Tommy Minga, and there can be no doubt  that the Jesters stand up there with Billy Lee Riley or Sonny Burgess as great Sun rockers; the true garage  analogue to the wildmen of Sun Records’ 50s heyday.

''Cadillac Man'' contains everything the Jesters recorded for Sun, produced by Knox Phillips, with Sam no  doubt smiling approvingly over his son’s shoulder. We have also added four essential tracks by Minga’s  subsequent combo the Escapades. ''I Tell No Lies'' and ''Mad Mad Mad'' are acknowledged Memphis garage  classics, and are presented here for the first time legitimately licensed and in great sound quality.

And if the sounds weren’t enough, the combo’s brief history, as revealed in the lengthy liners, is even  stranger than fiction, encompassing as it does Memphis maverick Jim Dickinson, a future medieval knight,  and The World’s Most Perfectly Formed Midget Wrestler. It’s been mentioned to me on more than one  occasion that with a story like the Jesters’, you don’t actually need any music to be entertained, but believe  me, you’ll be as excited as I was upon discovering the incandescent magic of this amazing combo.

Liner notes by Alec Palao

The Big Hurt
Stompity Stomp
Get Gone Baby
Cadillac Man
What's The Matter Baby
Strange As It Seems
Jim Dandy And Sweet Sixteen
Heartbreak Hotel
My Babe
Boppin' The Blues
Night Train From Chicago
Cadillac Man (Alternate)
Strange As It Seems (Alternate) (The Jesters)
What's So Good About Goodbye (Jimmy Day & The Knights, The Jesters)
Original Sun Recordings
I Tell No Lies (The Escapades)
She's The Kind (The Escapades)
Mad Mad Mad(The Escapades)
What You Know About Love (The Escapades
Original Arbet, Verve, XL Recordings
© 2010 Redita Records (CD) 500/200rom RDTCD 150 mono digital
Compact disc. An Redita Special Products. Photo of Mack Allen Smith pressed on disc. It include the five unreleased 1959 Sun recordings and 28 other vintage recordings from Hi, Fame, Statue, Lyn-Lou, and Ace Records. So, there's a lot more to the Mack Allen Smith story than these recordings, but it's these records that are his legacy to music fans. Music reviewer Alan Cackett once wrote of Mack Allen that, ''He turns the clock back with his band and he comes on strongly with some of the best country rock singing I've heard. His voice has mobility, emotion, and above all, which most others lack''. You'll hear all of those qualities in this CD.  Also included a 16-page booklet  features unpublished photos and detailed discography and session file information by Martin Hawkins.

Mean Woman Blues
Sandy Lee
Kansas City
Young Dreams
I Got A Fever
Skeleton Fight
Mean Old Frisco
Gotta Rock Tonight (Red Rooster Blues)
Boogie Children
Free, Single And Disengaged
Rag Mama Rag
Blow Your Horn
Carroll County Blues
I Got My Mojo Working
Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)
I'm A Lover
Hobo Man
Lonely Weekend
It's Only Make Believe
Don't Be Cruel
King Of Rock And Roll
Shake Your Money Maker
You Got Me Runnin'
Sick And Tired
You Better Move Me
Lawdy Miss Clawdy
Who The Heck Is Bob Wills
Lonely Street
Mama Luci
Treat Me Nice
Don't Leave Me Now
Shake-Eyed Woman
I'm Not Drunk, I'm Just Drinkin'
1-5 Original Sun Recordings
6-33 Redita Records

© 2011 Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564 mono digital

2 compact disc boxed set. A Jasmine Special product. Photo of Bobby Bland pressed on disc. Bobby Bland's gospel-inflected vocals and sophisticated phrasing set him aside from the typical rhythm and blues singer, and he only got better at it as he went along in his career. This two-disc, 46-track set collects all of his early singles, both A and B sides, for the Chess, Modern, and Duke labels between 1951 and 1960, including his signature hit ''Further On Up the Road'', which features some hot riffing from guitarist Pat Hare.

These 46 recordings represent the development of one of the most compelling and distinctive artists of the past 60 years and are presented for the first time in chronological order of release. Included a booklet biography, with liner notes by Bob Fisher and in the booklet features unpublished detailed session file information. Tracks 1 to 11 recorded at the Memphis Recording Service on 706 Union Avenue in Memphis for Chess, Modern and Duke Records.

- Steve Leggett

Despite his stature as one of America's premier vocalists, Bobby ''Blue'' Bland has never really enjoyed widespread popular fame on a domestic level let alone internationally. His failure to cross-over to the pop market in any meaningful way throughout his 60 year old recording career is baffling. Although his earliest recordings were cut in Memphis surrounded by that city's young and aspiring blues talent he never became popular with the international blues circles when blues became an international phenomenon in the early 1960s, probably because he never required discovering. Unlike B.B. King, Muddy Waters and scores of other blues stars of the 1950s, rock and roll never dented Bland's popularity with his core black audience. This was because unlike his contemporaries he quickly embraced his gospel background and can now be see alongside Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and James Brown as one of the pioneers of what would be known by the early 1960s as soul music. The few pop chart hits he did have in the 1960s though never gained him the kind of acceptance enjoyed by the other soul stars.

His appeal in black America was almost entirely to women and his. Fame rested solely on his incredible voice which glided from croon to scream in seconds. In the pantheon of top stars on Billboard Magazine's chart for rhythm and blues he remains to this day in the top ten with over 60 charted records a tally that began in 1957 with ''Farther On Up The Road''. His failure to gain huge acceptance in Europe had a lot to do with the fact that unlike most blues legends he not only did not play a guitar but his stage act could hardly be described as dynamic. Without taking this note into a sociological study it is worth noting that his popularity in England in the early 1960s rested mostly within the mod culture and his appeal was almost entirely male orientated, girls just didn't get him. The closest he ever came to a British hit was in 1974 when the single ''Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City'' received extensive UK radio play and was championed by British disc jockey Tony Blackburn. Although it failed to chart it did increase his profile and resulted in a revival of the song from rock vocalist David Coverdale and his band Whitesnake in 1980. Nevertheless these disadvantages have not prevented him from gaining a serious fan following and he can count, as he approaches his 1980th year, on the endorsement of such famous fans Van Morrison and Mick Hucknall who promote his achievements in a way no one did in the 1950s or 1960s. In 2009 his career was celebrated with a British Top 20 album chart entry via Mick Hucknall's solo album, "Tribute To Bobby" and a BBC TV documentary on his life and career which has now been screened several times on the specialist BBC Four channel.

Bobby '"Blue" Bland was born in the small town of Rosemark, Tennessee, on January 27, 1930. After moving to Memphis with his mother, Bland started singing with local gospel groups in the city, including amongst others the Miniatures. His idol in the late 1940s was singer Roy Brown and this led him to pursue opportunities in the secular world where he began frequenting the city's famous Beale Street where he became associated with a group of aspiring musical teenagers including, B.B. King, Junior Parker, Johnny Ace and Roscoe Gordon who called themselves the Beale Streeters.

In 1950 Sam Phillips opened his Memphis Recording Services at 706 Union Avenue. This was the first studio facility in the city for many years and became a beacon for aspiring young talent from both the rhythm and blues and hillbilly worlds. Within a matter of months Phillips and his young talent scout ,Ike Turner were recording locally based musicians and selling the masters to the large independent labels like Chess and Modern. Bland came to Turner's attention via 17 year-old Roscoe Gordon for whom Bobby had been acting as a driver and his very first recording was a duet with Gordon placed on the b-side of Gordon's hit single released on Chess, "Booted". Although this release caused a major controversy for Phillips and the Bihari brothers of Modern Records because they both considered Phillips services to them to be exclusive it was resolved by Modern retaining the exclusive rights to Gordon and Chess taking other artists from Phillips recordings. Bland's very first appearance on wax was therefore the b-side of a number 1 rhythm and blues hit and it ensured he made other recordings as the first seven tracks on CD 1 illustrate. A second duet with Gordon for Chess, "Crying" was not able to be included in this collection. He also recorded a duet with Junior Parker which went unreleased until the late 1960s along with a solo single for Modern.

Later in 1952 Bland signed on with the brand new Duke label started by local Memphis broadcaster, James Mattis and his first session featured his fellow Beale Streeters. Before the end of 1952 Mattis had been approached by Houston based label owner and nightclub entrepreneur, Don Robey who became a partner in the label. Robey already owned the Peacock label and by the year's end acquired the entire label with all artist contracts. Before Bland could record for the new set-up he received his call up papers from the U.S. Army and did not record again for almost three years.

On his first session for Robey in 1955 he was placed with the exceptional Bill Harvey Band featuring trumpeter, Joe Scott and although the results were not huge jukebox hits they did form the beginning of Bland's remarkable career. Robey appointed Scott as Bland's producer and svengali who transformed the singer into one of the biggest touring attractions in black America over the next three or four years. He chose his songs and arranged and produced them resulting in one of the most successful partnerships in rhythm and blues which lasted until Scott's death in 1979. Bland's touring schedule was often as much as 300 days per year and as can be seen his trips to the studio were modest compared to many acts. He often only recorded a single at a time and such was Scott's confidence in his artist these were released within weeks of recording. The first major hit came in 1957 with "Further On Up The Road" and from then on it was almost non-stop hits until well into the 1970s.

Bland's brief flirtation with cross-over came in 1973 when Robey sold his labels to ABC-Dunhill who placed Bland with pop producers like Steve Barri and coupled him with B.B. King for two million selling live duet albums. When ABC was sold to MCA Records, Bland remained with the giant conglomerate until the early 1980s when he signed to the Mississippi based Malaco Records. On Sunday June 23, 2013, at surrounded by relatives, Bobby "Blue" Bland, died due to complications from an ongoing illness at his home in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 83.

These 46 recordings represent the development of one of the most compelling and distinctive artists of the past 60 years and are presented for the first time in chronological order of release.

Bob Fisher October 2009
Thanks to Chris Bentley and Victor Pearlin

Disc 1 Contains

1 - Love You Till The Day I Die (3:14) Chess 1487
(Bobby Bland)
Recorded October 16, 1951 at Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
or Tuff Green's House, 1293 Quin Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee

Robert Bland (vocal), Rosco Gordon, Ike Turner (piano), Matt Murphy (guitar),
Unknown (sax, bass, drums)

2 - Crying All Night Long (3:00) Modern 848
(Jules Taub)
3 - Dry Up Baby (1:58) Modern 848
(Jules Taub-Bobby Bland)
Recorded circa November 1951 at Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
or Tuff Green's House, 1293 Quin Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee

Robert Bland (vocal), Junior Parker (harmonica), Johnny Ace (piano),
Matt Murphy (guitar), Earl Forrest (drums)

4 - Love My Baby (2:57) Modern Not Originally Issued
(Jules Taub-Bobby Bland)
Recorded January 24, 1952 at Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
or Tuff Green's House, 1293 Quin Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee

Robert Bland (vocal), Ike Turner (piano), Matt Murphy (guitar), L.C. Dranes (drums)

5 - Drifting From Town To Town (3:00) Modern 868
(Bobby Bland-Jules Taub)
6 - Good Lovin' (2:20) Modern 868
(Bobby Bland-Jules Taub)
Recorded Unknown Date 1952 at Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
or Tuff Green's House, 1293 Quin Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee

Robert Bland (vocal), Ike Turner (piano), Matt Murphy (guitar), L.C. Dranes (drums)

7 - I.O.U. Blues 3:08) Duke 105
(James Mattis-Don Robey)
8 - Lovin' Blues (3:15) Duke 105
(James Mattis-Don Robey)
Recorded Unknown Date 1952 at Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
or Tuff Green's House, 1293 Quin Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee

Robert Bland (vocal), Adolph ''Billy'' Duncan (tenor saxophone), Johnny Ace (piano),
B.B. King (guitar), Onzie Horne (vibraphone)

9 - No Blow No Show (2:57) Duke 115
(James Mattis-Don Robey)
10 - Army Blues (2:37) Duke 115
(James Mattis-Don Robey)
11 – Wise Man Blues (2:48) Duke Not Originally Issued
(James Mattis-Don Robey)
Recorded November 2, 1952 at Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
or Tuff Green's House, 1293 Quin Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee

Robert Bland (vocal), Johnny Board (tenor saxophone), Johnny Ace (organ),
Unknown (guitar, bass, drums), Onzie Horne (vibraphone)

12 - Lost Lover Blues (2:34) Duke Not Originally Issued
(Don Robey)
13 - Honey Bee (2:27) Duke Not Originally Issued
(Don Robey)
14 - It's My Life Baby (2:40) Duke 141
(Don Robey-Washington)
15 - Time Out (2:47) Duke 141
Don Robey)
Recorded February 22, 26, 1955 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Robert Bland (vocal), Bill Harvey (tenor saxophone), Joe Scott (trumpet),
Pluma Davis (trombone), Connie Black (piano), Ray Gaines (guitar),
Hamp Simmons (bass), Sonny Freeman (drums)

16 - You Or None (2:50) Duke 146
(Don Robey-Clifton)
17 - I Woke Up Screaming (2:44) Duke 146
18 - A Million Miles From Nowhere (2:49) Duke Not Originally Issued
Recorded April 22, 1955 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Robert Bland (vocal), Bill Harvey (tenor saxophone), Joe Scott (trumpet),
Clarence Holliman (guitar), Pluma Davis (trombone), Connie Black (piano),
Ray Gaines (guitar), Hamp Simmons (bass), Sonny Freeman (drums)

19 - You've Got Bad Intentions (2:29) Duke 153
(Joe Scott)
20 - I Can't Put You Down (2:36) Duke 153
(Don Robey)
Recorded April 22March 20, 1955 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Robert Bland (vocal), Bill Harvey Band

1-11 Original Memphis Recording Service Recordings
12-20 Original Duke Recordings

Disc 2 Contains

1 - I Don't Believe (2:38) Duke 160
(Don Robey)
2 - I Learned My Lesson (2:44) Duke 160)
(Johnny Copeland)
Recorded May 7, 1956 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Robert Bland (vocal), Onzie Horne (piano), Clarence Holliman (guitar),
Sonny Freeman (drums), Unknown (horns)

3 - I Smell Trouble (2:34) Duke 167
(Don Robey)
4 - Don't Want No Woman (2:37) Duke 167
(Don Robey)
Recorded January 22, 1957 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Bobby Bland (Vocal), Bill Harvey Orchestra, Connie Mack Booker (piano),
Clarence Holliman (guitar), Hamp Simmons (bass), Sonny Freeman (drums)

5 - Sometime Tomorrow (2:23) Duke 170
(Joe Scott-Don Robey-Harper)
6 - Further On Up The Road (2:57) Duke 170
(Don Robey-Veasey-Harper)
Recorded Unknown Date 1957 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Robert Bland (vocal), Bill Harvey (tenor saxophone), Pat Hare (guitar),
Sonny Freeman (drums), Unknown (piano, drums), Joe Scott Singers

7 - Bobby's Blues (2:17) Duke 182
(Joe Scott-Don Robey)
8 - Teach Me How To Love You (2:07) Duke 182
(Don Robey)
Recorded Unknown Date 1957 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Bobby Bland (vocal), Clarence Holliman (guitar),
Hamp Simmons (bass), Unknown (saxes, bass, drums)

9 - Loan A Helping Hand (2:23) Duke 185
(Joe Scott-Don Robey)
10 - You Got Me (Where You Want Me) (2:25) Duke 185
(Don Robey)
Recorded Unknown Date 1958 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Bobby Bland (vocal), Clarence Holliman (guitar),
Unknown (saxes, bass, piano, drums)

11 - Last Night (2:50) Duke 196
(Don Robey)
12 - Little Boy Blue (2:36) Duke 196
(Joe Scott-Harper)
13 - You Did Me Wrong (2:33) Duke 300
(Deadric Malone)
14 - I Lost Sight Of The World (2:32) Duke 300
(Deadric Malone)
Recorded Unknown Date 1958 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Bobby Bland (vocal), Probably L.A. Hill (tenor saxophone),
Sonny Freeman (drums)

15 - I'm Not Ashamed (2:33) Duke 303
(Joe Scott-Don Robey)
16 - Wishing Well (2:33) Duke 303
(Don Robey)
Recorded Unknown Date 1959 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Robert Bland (vocal), Joe Scott (trumpet), L.A. Hill (tenor saxophone),
Rayfield Devers (bass), Teddy Reynolds (piano), Johnny Brown (guitar),
Hamp Simmons (bass), Sonny Freeman (drums)

17 - Is It Real (2:25) Duke 310
(Deadric Malone)
18 – Someday (2:09) Duke 310
(J. Green)
19 - That's Why (1:50) Duke 314
20 - I'll Take Care Of You (2:16) Duke 314
21 - Hold Me Tenderly (2:16) Duke 318
(Deadric Malone)
22 - Lead Me On (2:02) Duke 318
(Deadric Malone)
Recorded Unknown Date 1959 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Robert Bland (vocal), Joe Scott (trumpet), Melvin Jackson (trombone), Puma Davis (bass), L.A. Hill (tenor saxophone), Robert Skinner (tenor saxophone), Hamp Simmons (bass), Rayfield Devers (bass), Teddy Reynolds (piano/organ), Wayne Bennett (guitar), Jabo Starks (drums)

23 - Cry Cry Cry (2:40) Duke 327
(Deadric Malone)
24 - I've Been Wrong For So Long (2:17) Duke 327
(Deadric Malone-Agee)
25 - I Pity The Fool (2:40) Duke 332
(Deadric Malone-Agee)
26 - Close To You (2:02) Duke 332
(Deadric Malone)
Recorded Unknown Date 1960 at 2809 Erastus Street, Houston, Texas
Robert Bland (vocal), Joe Scott (trumpet), Melvin Jackson (trombone), Puma Davis (bass), L.A. Hill (tenor saxophone), Robert Skinner (tenor saxophone), Hamp Simmons (bass), Rayfield Devers (bass), Teddy Reynolds (piano/organ), Wayne Bennett (guitar), Jabo Starks (drums)

Original Duke Recording

Compilation and Annotation
Bob Fisher
Transfers & Digital Processing
Tall Order Mastering
Graphic Design
Mary & Mick Limited

For Biography of Bobby Bland see: > The Sun Biographies <
Bobby Bland's Modern/Duke recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <


© February 21, 2011 Columbia Records (CD) 500/200rpm 88697 60051 2 mono digital

The musical treasures left behind by Johnny Cash at the House Of Cash estate in Hendersonville, Tennessee,  continue to provide insight into his character as an American music icon, perhaps the American music icon.  The rich backwoods archive first bore fruit on Columbia Legacy nearly five years ago, with the release of  Personal File aka Bootleg Volume 1, a fascinating double-CD collection of 49 privately recorded, intimate  solo performances dating from 1973 to 1982.

From Memphis To Hollywood: Bootleg Volume 2 continues the series, as compilation producer Gregg Geller  focuses on the dawning of Johnny Cash’s recording career at Sun Records in Memphis from late 1954 to late  1957 on CD 1, into his first decade at Columbia Records in Nashville, from 1958 to 1969 on CD 2. Bootleg  Volume 2 will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting February 22, 2011, through  Columbia Legacy, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

Putting the Bootleg Volume 2 collection in historical perspective is a carefully detailed essay written by  Ashley Kahn, author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece (DaCapo Press, 2000),  and other titles. Kahn also contributes to National Public Radio.

The trove of archival material on Bootleg Volume 2 begins with a 15-minute live radio broadcast from  KWEM in Memphis, hosted by Johnny Cash, who worked for Home Equipment Company, the show’s  sponsor right across the street from the radio station. The date was Saturday, May 21, 1955, in the same  month that Cash recorded his first Sun single, ''Cry! Cry! Cry!'' b/w ''Hey Porter''. In addition to his lively  palaver, Cash and the Tennessee Two, guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant, performed a  handful of tunes, including the honky tonk ''Wide Open Road'', a cover of ''One More Ride'' (from the Sons  Of the Pioneers), the gospel ''Belshazzar'', and the guitar showpiece, ''Luther's Boogie''. The broadcast is  followed by a one minute spot advertising an upcoming show at the Overton Park Shell, starring Webb  Pierce, Red Sovine, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and other country acts.

CD 1 continues with a dozen historically-significant, pre-Sun demos by Cash, 11 of them previously  unreleased. These rare home-recorded demos served as blueprints to such enduring Cash originals as ''I Walk  The Line'', ''Get Rhythm'' and ''Country Boy'', and provide new insight into Cash’s songwriting. Two of these  demos would soon turn into rockabilly hits for Roy Orbison (''You’re My Baby'') and Warren Smith (''Rock  And Roll Ruby'').

Under the heading Sun rarities are seven outtakes produced between late 1954 and late 1957 by Sam Phillips  and Jack Clement. In addition to familiar Cash titles (''Big River'', ''Wide Open Road''), there are covers of  tunes by Jimmy Rodgers (''Brakeman's Blues''), Marty Robbins (''I Couldn't Keep From Crying''), and Lead  Belly (''Goodnight Irene''), an indication of Cash’s abiding interest and love for the burgeoning folk music  movement, whose embrace of him was a hallmark of his career. CD One concludes with two final demos,  ''Restless Kid'' (later recorded by Ricky Nelson), and ''It’s All Over''.

The 25 tracks on CD 2 span Cash's first 11 years at Columbia Records; he was ultimately with the label for  28 years, through 1986. This disc presents a fresh gathering of Columbia non-album singles, outtakes, and Bsides  being released digitally for the first time in the United States, 11 of them previously unreleased in the  U.S.

The move to Columbia also meant a move to Los Angeles for Cash and his family as he developed a taste for  film and television work, both as a songwriter and as an actor. In the Golden Age of TV westerns and  movies, Cash was a natural. His larger-than-life presence boosted the popularity of the gunfighter ballads and  Americana tales that became a pop music genre at the end of the 1950s and into the 1960s, exemplified by  such titles as ''Restless Kid'', ''Johnny Yuma Theme'', and ''Hardin Wouldn't Run''. Another example is  ''Shifting, Whispering Sands'', a spoken-sung collaboration with Lorne Greene, better known as Bonanza TV  patriarch Ben Cartwright.  The musical passions of Johnny Cash, from traditional gospel and folk, to Tin Pan Alley and Music Row,  among many other sources, were given full rein in 1969, when The Johnny Cash Show became a weekly  event on ABC-TV. It is at that point, with the evocative theme of the show’s central feature, ''Come Along  And Ride This Train'', that Bootleg Volume 2 concludes.

''To know the tree'', Kahn sums up, ''one should begin at the root, so goes an old saying. Yet one is well  advised to take in all the branches as well. From Memphis To Hollywood: Bootleg Volume 2 offers the  opportunity to hear Johnny Cash’s earliest performances plus a wealth of unreleased and unfairly forgotten  recordings, to grasp his commanding, old-growth legend in full''.

CD 1 Contains The 1950s
A - On The Air
KWEM Announcements and Advertisements
Johnny Cash Show Intro and Theme
Wide Open Road
Home Equipment Company Advertisement
One More Ride
Home Equipment Company Advertisement/Luther Perkins Intro
Luther’s Boogie
Belshazzar Intro
Closing Comments and Theme
Overton Park Shell, Country Music Jamboree'' Advertisement by 
Texas Bill Strength,  broadcast August 4, 1955.
Tracks 1-10 recorded May 21, 1955 in West Memphis, Arkansas
Tracks 1-11 Previously released as bonus CD in limited edition of The Legend boxed set, 2005.

B - Early Demos
I Walk The Line
Get Rhythm
Train Of Love
Country Boy
My Treasure
He’ll Be A Friend
When I Think Of You
I Just Don’t Care Enough (To Carry On)
I’ll Cry For You
You’re My Baby
Rock And Roll Ruby
Recorded probably late 1955, West Memphis, Arkansas,
courtesy of Sun Entertainment Corporation.
Tracks previously unreleased, recording dates and locations unknown.

C - Sun Rarities
Wide Open Road (Recorded late 1954
Produced by Sam Phillips

Leave That Junk Alone (Recorded August 4, 1957
Produced by Jack Clement

Brakeman’s Blues (Incomplete) (Recorded April 2, 1956
Produced by Sam Phillips

Big River (Recorded November 12, 1957
Produced by Jack Clement

I Couldn’t Keep From Crying (Recorded probably 1955
Produced by Sam Phillips

New Mexico (Recorded probably 1955
Produced by Sam Phillips)

Goodnight Irene (Recorded November 12, 1957
Produced by Jack Clement)
Tracks recorded in Memphis, courtesy of Sun Entertainment Corporation.

D - More Demos
Restless Kid
It’s All Over
Tracks previously unreleased, recording dates and locations unknown.

CD 2 Contains The 1960s
All Over Again
You Dreamer You
I’ll Remember You
Johnny Yuma Theme
Five Minutes To Live
The Losing Kind
Locomotive Man
Girl In Saskatoon
There’s A Mother Always Waiting
Johnny Reb
Shifting, Whispering Sands (with Lorne Greene)
Send A Picture Of Mother
Hardin Wouldn’t Run
One Too Many Mornings
The Frozen Logger
Foolish Questions
Bottom Of The Mountain
Put The Sugar To Bed
You Beat All I Ever Saw
On The Line
Roll Call
The Folk Singer
Six White Horses
Come Along And Ride This Train
Tracks 1-6 recorded in Nashville, Produced by Don Law.
Tracks 7-12, 14-21 recorded in Nashville, Produced by Don Law and Frank Jones.
Tracks 22-23 recorded in Nashville, produced by Bob Johnson.
© November 3, 2013 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239 mono digital

Doctor Ross CDs are like the proverbial buses - you wait ages for one to come out that features his raucous  Sun sides of the 1950s and then two come at the same time. Prior to this fine collection arriving, Bear Family  had only a matter of a month before put out their own perfectly splendid version of much the same material  (see BCD 16939AH Juke Juke Box Boogie - The Sun Years, Plus).

Whichever set you go for, you really owe it to yourself to get one. Housed within both are loads of great  sides from Isaiah Ross, born on a farm in Tunica, Mississippi to parents of native American origin and who  became one of the best recorded practitioners of what we now refer to as a ''one-man band''. His ability to  sound like a whole rockin' rhythm and blues band must have been unsettling, playing guitar and harmonica  on a rack and adding a chunk of a drum set to his body without adversely affecting the ability to play the  other instruments, sing and stay upright at the same time. If this sounds like the kind of behaviour of a nut  job, you just might be right in respect of Doctor Ross. Neil Slaven's enjoyable sleeve notes to this set quotes  the English blues critic Derrick Stewart-Baxter as saying of Doctor Ross that ''he was a nice guy but a  strange guy, a bit of a space cadet but a good musician''.

And being a good musician is right on the money and, on this set, you get the very best of him. 55 tracks  across 2 CDs featuring just about everything he cut for Sun, both as a solo musician and as part of Doctor  Ross And His Jump And Jive Boys (the unit he put together as and when he didn't want or need to play all  instruments himself).  This set collects tracks recorded for Sam Phillips' Sun Records between the years 1951 and 1956. But we  don't understand where the years listed on the box came from. According to the enclosed discography all the  tracks were recorded between the years 1951 and 1954. And not all of them were recorded in Memphis.  Included are several sides Ross recorded in 1951 after he came back from the Korean War. He then began  recording for Sun in earnest in 1953, releasing several singles like "Chicago Breakdown", "Come Back  Baby", and the still popular "Boogie Disease" (seven takes). Several of these tracks in various takes, have  never been issued, and aren't just filler - they add more depth to Ross' style and discography. But the tracks  recorded in 1954 are from Flint, Michigan, where Ross lived and worked for a time. Plus, the tracks aren't in  order of when they were recorded they're spread across the two discs. The recording years are spread across  (which added to my confusion) both discs. Why not list the tracks, beginning with Disc A, in order by the  year they were recorded, and continue onto Disc B? So either I'm massively confused, or JSP/Slaven made a  slight error in their dates. But it's the music that's important here, and on that point this set delivers.

Disc 1 Contains
1 - Come Back Baby (2:49) > Sun 193-A >
2 - Feel So Sad (Take 1) (2:25)
3 - Down Town Boogie (Take 1) (2:22)
4 - Shake 'Em On Down (Take 1) (2:48)
5 - Tailor Made (Deep Down In the Ground) (Take 1) (2:40)
6 - Boogie Disease (Take 1) (2:27)
7 - Boogie Disease (Take 2) (2:47)
8 - Jukebox Boogie (Take 1) (2:40)
9 - Cat Squirrel (Mississippi Blues) (2:19)
10 - Little Soldier Boy (Take 1) (2:50)
11 - Doctor Ross Boogie (2:38)
12 - That's Alright (2:22)
13 - Industrial Boogie (3:03)
14 - Texas Hop (Take 2) (2:39)
15 - That Ain't Right (Take 1) (2:47)
16 - That Ain't Right (Take 2) (2:51)
17 - Country Clown (Take 2) (2:29)
18 - Boogie Disease (Take 3) (2:27)
19 - Shake 'Em On Down (Take 3) (2:41)
20 - My Be Bop Gal (2:31)
21 - Going To the River (3:20)
22 - Feel So Sad (Incomplete) (2:36)
23 - Chicago Breakdown (Take 2) (2:50)
24 - That Ain't Right (Take 3) (2:49)
25 - That Ain't Right (Take 4) (2"57)
26 - Shake A My Hand (2:25)
27 - Jukebox Boogie (Take 3) (2:27) > Sun 212-B <
28 - Turkey Leg Woman (2:34)
Doctor Ross In The Sun Studio

There was a wide range of emotions on display at each American Folk Blues Festival during the 1960s. For many, it was the sheer incredulity of listening to blues artists who for years had been names on crumbling Paramount labels. Could that be Son House? Skip James? and was that really Sleepy John Estes, that Bill Broonzy had told us was dead? And the magnificent Bukka White. Some, like Big Joe Williams and Sonny Boy Williamson, retained an air of menace and a volatile temperament. Others, like J.B. Lenoir, Robert Pete Williams and Lightnin' Slim, wormed their way into our affections. All were greeted with enthusiasm but few were instantly loved. Just two come to mind, Fred McDowell and Doctor Ross, both present on the 1965 AFBF. The goodness of their hearts, and a certain naivety, shone through in their performances. Both men were skilled and genuinely enjoyed their capacity to entertain, a skill freely indulged for their audience's pleasure. The blues will never see their like again.

Sometime in 1952, Ross married Willie Love's first cousin (in his interview with Pearson, he also claims to have married Love's second cousin, as well), gave up music and moved to Indianapolis then Champaign, III, where he got a job with General Motors. Before the year ended, he returned to Memphis for another Sun session, at which three takes of ''Shake 'Em On Down'' and single cuts of ''Down South Blues'', ''Polly Put The Kettle On'', 'Left Job Boogie'' and ''My Be Bop Gal" were recorded. With him were pianist Henry Hill and washboard player Reuben Martin. Hill also recorded multiple takes of ''That Ain't Right''. None of the material, including Hill's effort was released at the time. Ross's marriage didn't lasted long and in March 1953 he headed back south to Memphis, where WDIA had a programme slot for him sponsored by Camel Cigarettes. Ross basically commandeered the Silver Kings, including guitarists Tom Troy and David Freeman, as his backing band, renaming them the Interns.

Disc 2 Contains
1 - Boogie Disease (Take 4) 2:30) > Sun 212-A < 
2 - Country Clown (Take 1) (2:48)
3 - Feel So Sad (Take 2) (2:36)
4 - Little Soldier Boy (Take 2) (2:52)
5 - Industrial Boogie (Take 1) (4:04)
6 - Tailor Made (Deep Down In the Ground) (Take 2) (2:41)
7 - Texas Hop (Take 1) (2:40)
8 - That Ain't Right (Take 5) (Unissued) (2:55)
9 - That Ain't Right (Take 6) (3:04)
10 - Dr Ross Boogie (2:20)
11 - Boogie Disease (Take 5) (2:28)
12 - Chicago Breakdown (Take 3) (2:51) > Sun 193-B < 
13 - Polly Put The Kettle On (2:53)
14 - Left Job Boogie (3:41)
15 - 1953 Jump (Incomplete) (Unissued) (1:33)
16 - Industrial Boogie (Take 2) (3:58)
17 - Down South Blues (2:50)
18 - That Ain't Right (Take 7) (Unissued) (2:50)
19 - That Ain't Right (Take 8) (2:50)
20 - Good Thing Blues (4:42)
21 - Shake 'Em On Down (Take 2) (2:40)
22 - Jukebox Boogie (Take 2) (2:48)
23 - Chicago Breakdown (Take 1) (2:54)
24 - Boogie Disease (Take 6) (2:33)
25 - Boogie Disease (Take 7) (2:34)
26 - Down Town Boogie (Take 2) (2:19)
27 - Feel So Sad (Breakdown) (Unissued) (2:24)
Original Sun, Chess and Michigan Recordings
For Complete Biography of Doctor Ross see: > The Sun Biographies <
Doctor Ross' Chess/Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
The Ross family lived on the outskirts of Tunica, Mississippi. Isaiah was the youngest of six girls and five boys, born October 21, 1925. ''My father's name was Jake Ross and my mother's named Lulu Ross'', he told Barry Lee Pearson. 'My father and them used to work over 107 acres land. I use to be the water boy. I take water to the fields for them. My father was mostly a new ground man. He'd clean up the woods about hundreds of acres. And he was a harmonica player.

''Music was in both sides of the family. My uncle, Jody Nixon, was a great guitar player. That was my uncle on my mothers' side. My sister and them used to have one string upside the wall. Put a brick at the bottom end and maybe a bottle up at the top end make some of the best music you ever heard. I guess when I was born I just had that in my blood. My sister got married to a World War 1 veteran and he bought me a couple of harmonicas. Then, a couple more years, I had another sister to get married and she bought me four harmonicas''. Being left-handed, he played the harmonica upside down 9as he would the guitar), meaning in his words, ''I have my coarse keys to the right and my fine ones to the left''.

His growing proficiency was helped by guitarist George G.P. Jackson. ''He herd me playing one day and he decided, 'I'm gonna ask your father can you go out with me to play at birthday parties'''. Jackson was born in Alligator Mississippi on May 16, 1920He took up guitar aged 17 and taught himself to play slide but it was his friend Wiley Galatin (whose name has recently) metamorphosed into Gatlin) who taught the teenage Jackson how to play conventional guitar. ''He never was a great guitar player'', Jackson told Hartmut Munnich. ''He just had something going that the people in the South liked. Jackson and Ross became a team around ,1939 with the occasional addition of Doc Tolbert who provided percussion on a bucket, an arrangement that lasted until Jackson joined the Army in 1942 . On his discharge, Jackson joined drummer Parker's Silver Kings, one of whom was pianist Willie Love. He later moved on to Cincinnati and Kansas City where he remained, recording for Murphy in 1952 and, as Kansas City Bo Diddley, for Atlas five years later.

With Jackson's departure Ross teamed up with Galatin. '' So .G.P played in natural and Wiley played in Spanish. I like both of them playing but I liked Wiley more because he would get the notes more plainer on the guitar. Wiley had plenty plays because he was big time around here''. They formed a band with guitarist John Dillon and washboard player Reuben Martin. Dillon was sent to Parchman Farm in 1950 for murder and there's speculation he was the John Dudley Alex Lomax recorded there in 1959. As work became more frequent, Ross had trouble with Galatin: ''Wiley, he'd mess around,"Oh I ain't gonna get et drunk'', you laying about two o'clock in the .morning. Wiley done fell drunk many times. I had to have somebody to pack him up. I had another young man that come in there so he'd play

On December ,16th 1943 Ross entered the Army, and returning to Tunica in August 1947

While in the service he bought himself a guitar and asked his sister to send him his harmonica rack. It was the beginning of the one-man-band. Once home, he rejoined Galatin and went looking for work. He knew a service station owner who found work for Rice Miller, so he went to Dundee Junction to ask for help. ''Mr Eddie'' preferred Ross, now calling himself ''Doctor'' , to Miller, found them some gigs and then sponsored some airtime on station WROX in Clarksdale, who also gave airtime to Rolbert Nighthawk and Ike Turner's Kings Of Rhythm. Sometime later, store owner Charlie Ketch came down from Helena, Arkansas offer work on station KFFA.

Recruiting Ernest Lane from Turner, the trio set off for Helena. The band broadcast every day as Doctor Ross and His Jump And Jive Boys. In the evenings, they played in Helena dives like ''The Hole In The Wall'', Isidore's and Roger's. In March 1950, he secured a gig with WDIA in Memphis, the leading black music station in the area. Ross got rid of Ernest Lane and used station resident Ford Nelson instead. Like Earl Hooker, Lane had a habit of stealing from his band mates. Kings Of Rhythm dismissed him for the same reason.

In October 1950, with the onset of the Korean War, Ross was recalled to the Army. He spent a year at Fort Worth, Texas, returning to Dundee, Mississippi in November 1951. His brother Jacob had been selling Doctor Ross tickets to Sam Phillips while he was in the service. Now he made his way to Memphis. signed a contract and ten days later cut six songs for Phillips, including ''Cat Squirrel'', ''Shake A My Hand'', and ''Little Soldier Boy'', while Wiley Galatin sang ''That's Alright''. Robert ''Mook'' Moore played bass, but on this occasion provided percussion by sweeping a broom vigorously over the studio floor. ''He could make it sound better than any drums'', Ross recalled, ''he sure could''.

It wasn't until October 1953 that Ross recorded for Phillips again, with the intention of cutting a single to be released on Phillips' own Sun label. They were successful, ''With Come Back Baby'' and ''Chicago Breakdown'' released on Sun 193. As a child, Ross had met Bukka White a couple of times and ''Come Back Baby'' evokes the sound of White's OKeh session with Washboard Sam.

As well as the hoped-for single, it was a productive session, with five further titles recorded. ''Texas Hop'' evoked the title of Pee Wee Crayton's 1948 hit but there the resemblance ended. ''Tailor Made'' (also known as ''Terra Mae'') was Ross's version of John 1938 release, ''Deep Down In The Ground'', ''Turkey Leg Woman'' is thought to be taken from Yank Rachell's 1941 song, ''Biscuit Bakin' Woman'', while ''1953 Jump'' only exists in a truncated form. Ross decided he had a hit on his hands, which made him angry when no royalties arrived. With his record more or less coinciding with Elvis Presley's hit, he was convinced his money had been used to promote Presley. ''Both sides were hits'', he told Pearson. '''And so the guys that played with me, they that I had done got the money for the record. I told them, no, I ain't got a quarter of i''t. Since they hadn't played on the session perhaps they thought they deserved some wages from it.

A certain amount of bad feeling was creeping into Ross's relationship with Sam Phillips, despite a new one-year recording contract signed on September 2, 1953. It wasn't until July 1954 that Ross returned to record what would prove to be his last session for Sun. Two of his Interns, Tom 'Slamhammer'' Troy and Bobby Parker joined him. Some time and effort was spent on ''The Boogie Disease'', with seven takes surviving. Incapable of repeating himself from take to take, Ross task was to present his observations in a more or less logical sequence. Phillips eventually decided on issuing take four on Sun 212 as the most felicitous combination of these spontaneous elements. The were present in the other takes in different orders. The sequence of boogyin' for the doctor an the nurse before being thrown in the hearse is present from take one. The juxtaposition of gettin' better but newer getting well is missing here. Ross sings, ''I ain't gonna die before my time, the doctor he told me that I'd never get well. In take two he's gonna boogie for his brother, while 'well' and 'better' change order. Parker's drums hit a stronger beat in four, which perhaps swayed Phillips' decision. For the first time, Ross sings, '' looka here, doctor, you got some of that Boogie Disease medicine? If you ain't, give me one of them penicillin shots''. Penicillin is mentioned again in take five.

Two further takes, identified here as takes six and seven may well have preceded the above. For one thing, Parker's drumming is lower in the mix and less demonstrative and Troy's guitar figures stray from the essential riff. In six, Ross begins, ''the other was down. I got some kind of disease''. After mentioning his 'sad, sa feeling'', he says, ''some people told me I looks all right but I know how I feel''. In seven' he intends to boogie for his mother, his father and his brother, not to mention ''the people and even one else''' With all this effort, it's plain that Sam Phillips thought he was on to another hit. It can't have left a lot of time to cut the other four songs from the session.

The third take of ''Juke Box Boogie'' made it to the other side of the single. This, ''Down Town Boogie'' and another ''Dr. Ross Boogie'' are somewhat generic in nature but that doesn't prevent Ross from enjoying himself. The final selection was ''Feel So Sad'', here heard in two full takes and a couple of incomplete performances. It follows the same musical format as ''The Boogie Disease'' but is in fact Ross's version of Junior Parker's ''Good'' (Sun 187). Given Ross's contentious attitude towards Elvis Presley, it's deeply ironic that one of the tapes used for this session had previously contained outtakes of Presley's ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', although all that remains is some studio talk.

Before ''The Boogie Disease'' was issued, Ross and Phillips had their final argument, which we only know from Pearson's interview. Ross began with, I'm not going to play no more myself. Not here''. Phillips pointed out that he would enforce his contract, making it impossible for Ross to record. Ross responded saying, ''I'm gonna lay dead until my contract is up. I 'm goin now where I can make me something. I'm gonna get me a job''. It gave Ross some satisfaction when Phillips sold Presley's contract for such a relatively small sum. Nevertheless, he was never paid for his recordings.

Thinking on it decades later, Ross reckoned, ''You wasn't making no money with the records. How you make your money - in personal appearances, wherever you go, charging at the door, playing for theatres. We'd leave Memphis, go to St. Louis, go to East St. Louis, make good as on to Chicago, leave there, come down to Caruthersville, Missouri. We made our money at way'''. He'd made a friend in Joe Hill Louis. ''We stop over in West Memphis) and we'd help him play. We would sit in with him and then sometimes he would sit in with us''.

Ross married Beatrice, Willie Love's second cousin, and moved to Flint, Michigan, seventy miles north of Detroit. He was unable to start a band but did cut a single for his own label. Then he fell out with his wife, who began a court case. ''I said, "You took a woman out of the South, take her North and you know she can destroy you in no time. In three days she can destroy you, bring your pup tent down". His own release had sold poorly, so he approached Jack and Devora Brown, who ran the Fortune and Hi-Q labels. Four singles were released between 1959 and the late 1960s. In most cases, his accompanists were unknown, although his
first Fortune single had backing from a group called the Orhits.

In 1965, having been 'rediscovered'' ' by Don Kent and Pete Weldin Doctor Ross performed at the University of Chicago Folksong Festival. His set was recorded by Norman Dayron and released on Takoma. A month later Pete Welding recorded him for Testament. These recordings led to him being included in the 1965 American Folk Blues Festival tour of Europe. While in London, an informal session was taped in his hotel room, from which Blue Horizon's first album, ''The Flying Eagle'' , was released. He made further solo visits to Europe, where he remained a popular blues artist.

The English blues critic Derrick Stewart-Baxter said this of Doctor Ross: ''He has the gift of producing a completely personal version of any standard blues but at the same time he never distorts or changes the meaning of the original composer. Doctor Ross is very much his own man''. Back in America, he was regarded as rather eccentric. One of his promoters said, ''he was a nice guy, but a strange guy, a bit of a space cadet but a good musician. He just seemed somewhat disconnected from reality, a bit living in his own world''.

Doctor Ross was filmed at a concert on January 10, 1993 and subsequently a DVD, ''Doctor Ross The Harmonica Boss'' was issued. He decided to retire from General Motors during the summer of 1993 but before that day arrived, he died on May 28th. By then he'd been largely forgotten by those who'd found so much pleasure in listening to him play. The full extent of his recordings for Sun hopefully redress the balance.

- Neil Slaven



© 2014 El Toro Records (CD) 500/200rpm ETCD 1071 mono digital

Much is made of the arrival of Jerry Lee Lewis at the Sun Studio in Memphis in late 1956. Of how, suddenly  in the middle of the first wave of guitar-swinging Elvis wannabes, this piano-playing hillbilly singer was told  to go away and learn some rock and roll, thus creating a seemingly unique monster. But it is largely forgotten  these days that The Killer was actually not the first rockin', rollin', pill-poppin', booze-drinkin', pianopoundin'  boogie woogie country man on the Sun label – that honour went to Smokey Joe Baugh...!
''I remember when I was a small boy that I loved Boogie Woogie. My mother had all of the 78s of the 40s. I played them all the time. I would beg Joe to play Boogie Woogie on our piano and he would make it smoke. He would mow our lawn for pocket money and would take a lot of breaks and have a cold drink of iced tea. He was my first hero''!

Earl Dodson (childhood friend of Smokey Joe Baugh), interviewed in 2004

Much is made of the unexpected appearance of Jerry Lee Lewis at the Sun Studio in Memphis in late 1956. Of how, suddenly in the middle of the first wave of guitar-swinging Elvis wannabes, this piano pounding hillbilly singer was told to go away and learn some rock and roll, thus creating a unique monster. But it is largely forgotten these days that The Killer was actually not the first rockin' , rollin' , pill-poppin' , booze-drinkin' boogie woogie country man on the Sun label - this honour went to Joseph "Smokey Joe" Baugh.

Sam Phillips' must have felt that his long-cherished dream to "find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel" was being realised again when he first heard and saw Smokey Joe with Clyde Leoppard's Snearly Ranch Boys in late 1954; in addition to playing in the area's foremost western swing band, Joe's talent for barrelhouse blues and boogie woogie piano-playing had formerly been employed to accompany Howlin' Wolf on the radio, no less... and he also sang in a gravelly voice that was pitched somewhere between the Wolf and Satchmo, leading many listeners to believe he was black, himself! A mistake that was dispelled as soon as they laid eyes on him, however...

Blond-haired and blue-eyed, Joseph E. Baugh was born in Helena, Arkansas, on July 25, 1932, but grew up fifty miles away in Memphis. A late starter, Joe began teaching himself to play piano at the age of eleven, at the family home of his friend and neighbour Earl Dodson, who recalled him mowing his parents' lawn... but taking frequent breaks to beat out the boogie on the family piano. Dodson recalled Joe as a restless child: Joe had no formal education because he would skip school often and eventually quit altogether. He was a rolling stone. He would take off for months at a time.

It is believed that, by the age of fourteen, Joe was making a living as a professional musician - a naturally-gifted multi-instrumentalist on piano, guitar and drums but little is known of his movements until 1951, when he was the resident pianist at The 81 Club on Highway 51 in Memphis, joining the legendary Shelby Follin band the following year, which also featured the young Paul Burlison, who would later play lead guitar with Johnny Burnette's Rock And Roll Trio. By this time, partially as a result of an injury to his throat, Baugh's voice had matured into a gravelly baritone that was the result of circumstances rather than any desire to sound black. Shelby Follin's group had a regular daily show on radio KWEM in West Memphis which was followed by Howlin' Wolf's spot and Joe would often listen to the blues man during the drive home. Joe soon became a big fan of the Wolf's house rocking blues and wasn't slow in cutting himself in on the action when the Wolf suggested an interracial jam session. Burlison remembered that Howlin' Wolf had arrived early for his show and had witnessed the Follin group playing one of their bluesy country songs: ''I went out in the hallway and he says, Hey, I like the way you play guitar'. 'I said, "Thanks" He said, "How about playing some blues with me today"? I said, "All right. I'd be glad to''. Smokey Joe Baugh was there and he said, "Well, if you regoing to go back there and play the guitar, I'm going to go back there and play the piano!" Wolf said, 'Well, come on man - the more the merrier"!

The impromptu jam session became the start of a regular daily occurrence which lasted for about three months, with Burlison and Baugh backing Howlin' Wolf on all of his daily shows during this time, ending only when Joe decided to quit the Shelby Follin band to join Clyde Leoppard's Snearly Ranch Boys - "The Mid South 's Number I Western Swing Band" - which had a lengthy residency at Grady Loftin's Cotton Club in West Memphis. An important band in the history of both Sun Records and Memphis music in general, Clyde Leoppards group alumni included at one time or another, Stan Kesler, Bill Taylor, Buddy Holobaugh, Johnny Bernero, Buddy Hall, Warren Smith, Barbara Pittman, Hayden Thompson, Gene Simmons, the Kirby Sisters and a host of lesser lights, in addition to Smoke Joe, and it was only a matter of time before Sam Phillips, a regular at the Cotton Club, would get around to adding the area's "Number I Western Swing Band" to the roster of the premier independent record label in Memphis, Sun Records. In February 1955, Sam celebrated his signing of both the Snearly Ranch Boys and Carl Perkins by releasing their debut singles on Sun's first subsidiary, Flip Records. Due to the existence of an already established Flip label in Los Angeles, Sam Phillips' Flip didn't survive for very many months, but the artists were transferred to Sun proper when it closed down. The top-side of the Clyde Leoppard release was a fairly unremarkable hillbilly ballad sung by Bill Taylor alone, called "Lonely Sweetheart", but flip the record over and there was something altogether more fresh and exciting; "Split Personality" is a startlingly original concept depicting the audible conscience of a recently jilted lover, where the sweeter-voiced Taylor plays "angel" to gruff Smokey Joe's "devil". Despite the clever construct, Flip 502 was an unsuccessful release and, as it was discovered that Leoppard had been refused entry to the A FM, there were no further releases in his name, although his band and musicians were used extensively by Phillips throughout 1955 and 1956.

Despite the disappointing sales, but fascinated by the gravelly voice of Joe Baugh, Sam Phillips next recorded the band during the summer of 1955 with Smokey Joe very much elevated to the role of front man. That Sam was interested in challenging the preconceived racial attitudes of the era is obvious from his selection of the tracks for Smokey Joe's next release; the main song was an attractive, highly commercial - but obviously white - country bopper on a Hawaiian theme called "Hula Bop". Two takes survive and they became firm favourites with rock and roll fans when finally released in the 1970s and 1980s, but Sam bypassed this song for release at the time in favour of the rollicking "Listen To Me Baby", which was similar in style to some of Rosco Gordon's recordings at Sun, along with a seemingly throwaway novelty based on the ancient African-American theme sometimes known as ''The Jungle King", a number that Joe had worked up into a salty (and some say pornographic) night club success, but which had to be edited and censored for commercial record release. From this decision, it would appear that Sam Phillips was setting up a racially ambiguous release that would, hopefully, sell to both markets, and he was right: ''Originally Clyde Leoppard had Smokey Joe Baugh with him and Joe had a good sound. Vocally he sounded almost black, he had an individual style. We cut an interesting thing on him, the ''Signifying Monkey''. Surprisingly, though we didn't get rich off it, we did sell a lot of records. When I say a lot, I mean fifty to sixty thousand, and that was something, back then''.

A hit among the black population of the mid-south, Flip 228/Sun 228 reputedly made enough noise to earn the blond- haired and blue-eyed Smokey Joe an invitation to play the Apollo Theater in Harlem and the Clyde Leoppard band a few more engagements. Drummer Johnny Bernero recalled: ''I remember that ''Signifying Monkey'' put out. We got a regular date out at the Millington Naval Base at the time that came out. One night Joe was singing that song during rehearsal and the Chief heard us. Joe was using terrible words but the Chief was half tight and told us that we had to use that song on the bandstand. Smokey said, 'No, man. I can't use that'', but the Chief insisted. Anyway, two weeks later I got letter from the Commander at the base saying that we were banned because people had complained. I called for a hearing and made a long explanation and, as it ended up, we were banned for three months and Smokey was banned for good''!

Either at this session or, more likely, shortly afterwards, Joe recorded another two titles for Sun; his own, "She's A Woman", which he cried out in various tempos, and another talking blues, "The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere", in the style of "Signifying Monkey". Neither was deemed commercially viable enough to release at the time, although they have since graced several Sun reissue compilations since the 1970s, and Joe was promptly sidelined by Sam as a session musician for the next year, where his distinctive piano playing can be heard backing recordings cut under the name of Clyde Leoppard band vocalists Warren Smith ("Rock Roll Ruby") and Barbara Pittman ("I Need A Man"). His old friend Johnny Bernero also helped him get session work over at Meteor Records, where they both backed Mary Edwards and Brad Suggs, but Joe's booze and drug habits, coupled with an inherent reliability problem had begun to annoy everyone he came into contact with. Even his old friend Johnny Bernero had to sack him from his band and he ended up owing money to virtually everyone he knew; photos exist of him with Elvis and Jerry Lee at the famed "Million Dollar Quartet" session (although he is not known to have contributed to that date and may have been there just to check out the competition... or, more likely, to ask Sam Phillips for a handout) and there is even rumour of a further Sun session in 1956 with the Snearly Ranch Boys, although no masters have yet turned up for release. As for Sam, he had long decided that Joe was far too wild and unreliable to be groomed for stardom...

By this time, Sam had also stopped using Clyde Leoppard, although he continued to harvest the best of his sidemen and vocalists for Sun releases, and inevitably Leoppard formed his own rival record company, called Fonovox„ which managed to issue Smokey Joe's "Perfect Girl" c/w "Start All Over Again" (Fonovox 100) before it disappeared. A fine double-fisted rocker, the release sold poorly and Joe's career as a session musician petered out with the decade, consisting of a record date as a drummer on Onie Wheeler's late 1957 Sun sessions, and back to piano for Memphis dates with Eddie Collins on Fernwood and Jimmy Pritchett on Crystal. All of these stemming from the almost-at-an-end generosity of his old friends Stan Kesler and Clyde Leoppard, while Joe saw the apparently meeker and more reliable Jerry Lee Lewis usurp his place at Sun and at the piano stool of the Snearly Ranch Boys, entirely through his own making. He scratched a living during the early 1960s as a sometimey member of the Bill Black Combo and then, in May 1964 , eight years since his last release, Joe must have been extremely surprised to witness Sun Records re-label and reissue his big 1955 hit, "The Signifying Monkey" c/w "Listen to Me Baby" on Sun 393, There have been various theories as to why this cute, but outdated obscurity from Sun's glorious past should make another appearance, but there are two likely factors. Ska music was big business in 1964, following the success of Millie's "My Boy Lollipop" and "Listen to Me Baby" had that groove but, perhaps more tellingly, a new version of "Signafyin' (sic) Monkey" had been released by local hero Sam The Sham and was selling well on Stan Kesler's XL Records. generously giving an added writer credit to Smokey Joe.

Unluckily for Joe, unlike its first go-round, Sun 393 didn't sell at all and he left Memphis for Texas in the late 1960s leaving behind debts with everyone whom he had ever come into contact with. He settled in Waco and formed a country band with his loyal friend (and possible cousin), Buddy Holobaugh, called The Midnite Cowboys - a name based on the bestselling novel by James Leo Herlihy and the resulting Hollywood movie. When this band failed he moved to live near his mother in Salinas, California, although he returned to Memphis periodically, usually looking up Johnny Bernero when he was in town: ''He was looking for work and he was staying with a lady called Dottie Rush. Dottie's mother was an invalid and she needed a car to take her mother to the hospital. Anyway, Smokey got a gig one Saturday night and the next Sunday morning Dottie called me and said, ''John, have you seen Smokey. He played last night, came in at 2 o'clock, I heard him fumbling around in the kitchen then I heard the door slam and he hasn't come back. He'd just taken her car and gone. He's just that kind of guy but when he comes back it seems as though you just can't get mad at him. I remember one time that Sam Phillips said to him, "Smokey, if you'd just settle down be rational and dependable, you'd go places. And I'll help you". Smokey tried but then he'd take some pills or something and be out of it for a while. He's always been that way''.

Perhaps inevitably, travelling in the circles in which he did, he died in Monterey, California, on November 19, 1999 as a result of a fatal mugging incident.

- Dave Penny, July 2013

With grateful acknowledgement to the article Smokey Joe Baugh by Alexander Petrauskas (American Music Magazine number 129, April 2012). 

1 - Start All Over Again** (2:12) 
 (Smokey Joe) 
2 - Perfect Girl** (2:04)
 (Smokey Joe) 
3 - Hula Bop* (1) (2:50) > Sun Unissued <
(Smokey Joe with the Clyde Leopard Band) 
4 - She's A Woman* (1) (2:04) > Sun Unissued <
(Smokey Joe with the Clyde Leopard Band)  
5 - The Signifying Monkey* (3:18) > Sun 393-A < 
(Smokey Joe with the Clyde Leopard Band) 
6 - Listen To Me Baby* (2:28) > Sun 393-B <
(Smokey Joe with the Clyde Leopard Band)  
7 - The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere* (3:37) > Sun Unissued <
(Smokey Joe with the Clyde Leopard Band)  
8 - Hula Bop* (2) (2:52) (Alternate Take) > Sun Unissued <
(Smokey Joe with the Clyde Leopard Band) 
9 - She's A Woman* (2) (2:54) (Alternate Take) > Sun Unissued <
(Smokey Joe with the Clyde Leopard Band)  
10 - Split Personality* (2:21) > Flip 502-B <
(Bill Taylor and Smokey Joe with the Clyde Leopard Band) 
11 - Lonesome Sweetheart* (3:03) > Flip 502-A < 
(Bill Taylor with the Clyde Leopard Band)  
12 - I'd Rather Be Safe* Than Sorry (2:43) < Sun 239-B <
(Warren Smith) 
13 - Rock 'N' Roll Ruby* (2:51) > Sun 239-A < 
(Warren Smith)  
14 - Chilly Willy**** (2:32)
(Mary Edwards with The Saxons) 
15 - No Matter Who's To Blame* (2:44) > Sun 253-B < 
(Barbara Pittman)  
16 - Charcoal Suit**** (2:27)
(Brad Suggs with The Swingsters) 
17 - Patience Baby**** (2:14)
(Eddie Collins) 
18 - I Need A Man* (2:52) > Sun 253-A < 
Barbara Pittman)  
19 - Ubangi Stomp* (1:58) > Sun 250-B < 
(Warren Smith)  
20 - Nothing On My Mind*** (1:55)
(Jimmy Pritchett) 
21 - Voice Of A Fool* (2:29) > Sun Unissued <
(Barbara Pittman) 
22 - Bob, Baby ,Bop**** (2:05)
(Brad Suggs with The Swingsters) 
23 - Sentimental Fool* (2:21) > Sun Unissued <
(Barbara Pittman) 
24 - Oh! Oh! Mama ****(3:06)
(Mary Edwards with The Saxons) 
25 - Rock 'N' Roll Ruby* (2:39) (Alternate Take) > Sun Unissued <
(Warren Smith) 
26 - That's The Way I Feel*** (2:17) > Crystal 503-A < 
(Jimmy Pritchett) 
27 - Tell 'Em Off* (1:57)
(Onie Wheeler) > Sun 315-B <  
28 - Who Took My Baby*
(2:31) (Warren Smith) 
29 - I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry* (2:59) (Alternate Take) > Sun Unissued <
Warren Smith)  
30 - Jump Right Out This Jukebox* (2:18) > Sun 315-A < 
(Onie Wheeler) 
* Original Sun Recordings
** Original Fonofox Recordings
*** Original Crystal Recordings
**** Original Meteor Recording