Blues collector and longtime rare records dealer John Tefteller won a recent eBay auction which featured a previously unknown and potentially one of a kind blues 45 rpm record produced
by the Sun label back in 1953. ''I think I stole it'', said Tefteller of the record when the auction ended with his winning bid of $10,323.00. The record, ''Lonesome Old Jail'' and ''Greyhound Blues'', features an outstanding old style acoustic blues performance
by Alabama blues singer D. A. Hunt. It was Hunt's first and only record and sold very, very few copies when first released by Sam Phillips' now legendary Sun records label of Memphis, Tennessee.
''This record was not previously known to exist on 45 rpm and even the 78 rpm version is one of the rarest and most expensive on the Sun label with several documented sales in excess of $10,000.00'', explained Tefteller.
'' To find a 45 is a discovery of monumental importance to the record collecting world and I just had to have it''.
Of course, the latest addition to Tefteller’s blues collection, already referred to by many as the best in the world, means that all the history books, price guides and discographies have to be amended to now state unequivocally, that
yes, there is indeed an original 45 rpm pressing of SUN 183.
Tefteller goes on to explain that when the British record researchers first came to America in the late 1950s,
they went to Sun and, with assistance from Sam Phillips, documented everything. 78 rpm stampers were found for SUN 183, but NOT 45 rpm stampers and Phillips told the researchers that no 45’s were made.
'This discovery proves otherwise'', says Tefteller, who speculates that they probably pressed a few hundred and that was it. ''Sam must have just forgotten that he made a small amount of 45s and, significantly, this is not a
promotional copy, which means that they made some promos as well as regular copies for the stores''.
The copy of SUN 183 that Tefteller won on eBay from Minnesota seller
Tim Schloe is not in the best of condition. ''I would grade it at VG-which in the world of record collecting means it is pretty well used and abused'', Tefteller states. ''There is some damage to the labels as well, but the record does indeed play all the
way through and is not totally unpleasant to look at. But all that doesn’t really matter because it is so impossibly rare. No one, myself included, ever dreamed that this existed on 45. It is mind-boggling that since 1953 only one of these has ever surfaced
and to surface in 2009 is unbelievable!''. Schloe says he got the record ''as part of a large collection of used 45s that I bought from the estate of a Dallas, Texas collector who had left them to his brother''. Schloe knew the record was rare when he found
it in the rubble of thousands of old 45s but had ''no idea'' it would bring over $10,000.00. Tefteller is certain that the Texas collector could not have known it was so rare either or he would have told someone he had it or sold it while he was alive.
According to Tefteller, the world of Sun record collecting has just been turned on its head. ''Guys who thought they had them all are now scrambling to find another legitimate copy. This
will prove to be quite a challenge, however as no other copy has surfaced in over 50 years. There are hundreds of bootleg copies of this title out there on 45 rpm but so far, I now have the only legitimate one'', boasts Tefteller. ''I’ve got it, and
I have no plans to sell it. After all, I can’t say I have the top collection of blues records in the world if I let this one go''.
While some people may not understand
why a collector would pay over $10,000.00 for a beat up old 45 rpm record when you can easily hear both sides of this one in top sound on a reissue CD or a 99 cent Internet download, Tefteller has a ready answer: ''You can go to the Louvre and buys 99 cent
postcard of the Mona Lisa too, but there is nothing that beats the history and importance of actually owning the original!''.
Tefteller, 50, lives in Grants Pass, Oregon
and has been buying, selling and collecting rare phonograph records for 35 years. He also produces a yearly blues calendar and has a series of reissue CDs on the market of extremely rare blues performances from the 1920s. His personal collection contains thousands
of original blues 78 rpm records including dozens of one-of-a-kind records by blues singers. Tefteller also maintains the world's most extensive collection of original blues advertising art and photographs.
MARCH 13, 1953 FRIDAY
Rufus Thomas signed a contract with Sun Records. He was paid on five occasions between March 23 and June 27 in advance
royalties, totaling 275 dollars. He received three advance checks August 1953 and February 1954, some 450 dollars, but after that the contract, and the record of payment, runs out.
15, 1953 SUNDAY
Kitty Wells recorded ''Whose Shoulder Will You Cry On'' at Nashville's Castle Studio.
MARCH 17, 1953 TUESDAY
At a trial in Houston, Billie Jean Williams blames the death of her husband, Hank Williams, on narcotics prescribed by the defendant,
Toby Marshall, a self-described alcohol therapist'' she calls a ''quack''.
Pop singer Margaret Whiting and piano player Joe ''Fingers'' Carr are officially separated.
They each enjoyed country hits during their three-year marriage.
MARCH 19, 1953 THURSDAY
Ernie Ford recorded ''Hey, Mr. Cotton Picker''.
Tex Ritter performs the theme to ''High Noon'' on the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The song, ''Do Not Forsake Me'',
becomes the first country title to win the Oscar for Best Original Song.
MARCH 20, 1953 FRIDAY
Columbia released Lefty Frizzel's ''(Honey, Baby, Hurry!) Bring Your Sweet Love Back To Me''.
MARCH 21, 1953 SATURDAY
The Carlisles make their Grand Ole Opry debut, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Chris O'Connell is born in Williamsport, Maryland. She's a member of Asleep At The Wheel when the group scores its lone country hit, 1975's ''The Letter That Johnny Walker Read''.
Anderson, the second wife of playwright Maxwell Anderson, dies. He authored ''September Song'', which Willie Nelson will feature on his album ''Stardust''.
''A NEW INDIE RHYTHM AND BLUES label was launched here (in Memphis)'', cash Box announced in its March 1953, issue, echoing the PR release that Sam Phillips had written and Marion Keisker polished and sent out. It cited Sam's work with ''such
outstanding artists as Jackie Brenston, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Joe Hill Louis, Rosco Gordon, and Willie Nix'' - a stellar roster, to be sure, but more striking, if less readily convincing to the everyday businessman, was his unwavering commitment ''to give
every opportunity to untried artists to prove their talents whether they play a broom stick or the finest jazz sax in the world''.
MARCH 23, 1953 MONDAY
Decca released Red Foley and Ernest Tubb's ''No Help Wanted #2''.
MARCH 24, 1953 TUESDAY
Leo Fender receives a patent for his Precision Bass, signaling the official beginning of the electric bass guitar.
MARCH 25, 1953 WEDNESDAY
''On Top Of Old Smokey'' debuts in movie theaters, with Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette. In the picture, Autry protects a Texas
land owner from poachers.
Webb Pierce recorded ''It's Been So Long'', ''Don't Throw Your Life Away'' and ''There Stands The Glass'' at Nashville's Castle Studio in the
MARCH 26, 1953 THURDAY
Michael Bonagura, of Baillie & The
Boys, is born in Newark, New Jersey. His wife, Kathie Baillie, sings lead for the harmonic act, which earns seven Top 10 hits in the late-1980s, including ''Oh Heart'', ''Long Shot'' and ''(I Wish I Had A) Heart Of Stone''.
Jim Denny and Webb Pierce create Cedarwood Publishing in Nashville. The publishing company represents songs by such writers as Mel Tillis, John D. Loudermilk, Marijjohn Wilkin, Carl Perkins and Danny Hill.
MARCH 27, 1953 FRIDAY
Merle Travis begins work on ''From Here To Eternity'', a motion picture that
has him on screen in several scenes and features his performance of ''Re-Enlistment Blues''.
Columbia released Carl Smith's two-sided hit, ''Orchids Mean Goodbye'' and
''Just Wait 'Til I Get You Alone''.
MARCH 28, 1953 SATURDAY
It wasn't long before
Rufus Thomas's "Bear Cat" became a test case. In Billboard was reported song publishers were seeking legal action: "In an effort to combat what has become a rampant practice by small labels - the rushing out of answers which are similar in melody and/or theme
to ditties which have become smash hits - many pubbers are now retaining attomeys. Common practice, of course, is to regard the answer as an original. Currently publishers are putting up a fight to protect their originals from unauthorized or infringing answers".
Don Robey of Peacock Records was ever the pragmatist, though, and told Billboard he had notified the Harry Fox publishing agency "to issue Sun a license on "Bear Cat" in order that Robey might collect a royalty".
MARCH 31, 1953 TUESDAY
Guitarist Greg Martin is born in Louisville, Kentucky. He joins The Kentucky Head Hunters, who win a Grammy award
and nail down two Vocal Group of the Year honors from the Country Music Association.
Numerous radio stations across the country observe Hank Williams Day, paying homage
to the legendary singer who died three months earlier.
Eddy Arnold recorded ''How's The World Treating You'', ''Free Home Demonstration'' and ''Mama, Come Get You Baby
Boy'' at the RCA Studios in New York City.