CONTAINS
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1953 SESSIONS 3
March 1, 1953 to March 31, 1953

Studio Session for Lloyd Arnold (McCollough), March 4, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, March 1953 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Big Mama Thornton, August 13, 1952, Peacock Records
Studio Session for Rufus Thomas, March 8, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for D.A. Hunt, March 11, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Doctor Ross, Probably March/April 1953 / Sun Records

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
RPM/Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on 
> YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

MARCH 1953

The singles, Sun 180 ''Easy b/w Before Long'' by Jimmy & Walter and Sun 181 ''Bear Cat'' b/w ''Walkin' In The Rain'' by Rufus Thomas are released at the end of the month..

Once again Sun 180 it featured Walter Horton, this time as half of a duo billed as Jimmy and Walter and made up of himself and guitarist Jimmy DeBerry, with Houston Stokes helping out sparingly on drums. The A-side ''Easy'' was a harmonica instrumental that in anyone else's hands might have seemed little more than a harmonic restatement of Ivory Joe Hunter's 1950 blues standard, ''I Almost Lost My Mind''. With Walter's genius for tonal variation, however, it embraced a shimmering new palette, as verse follows lyrical verse, sounding at first, with its full rounded vibrato-laden tone, as if the harmonica is coming from inside the bottle, then gradually taking on additional force and meaning until, with a mix of reverb, angry squalls, and sheer volume, the lyrical gives way for a moment to a mood almost of aggression, then subsides once again, though not altogether, to the pure beauty of its original inspiration. There is no bridge, just a compact turnaround at the end of each verse, and Jimmy DeBerry's unamplified guitar could not play more uncomplicated blues changes throughout, but the effect id riveting, seeking, in Sam's uncompromising terms, to capture no more and no less than unfettered self-expression.

The other side, ''Before Long'', opens with the same unamplified guitar and in some ways offers much the same affect, except this time there is no Walter Horton, with Jimmy DeBerry's delicate, somewhat wobbly vocal substituting for the harmonica. Once again the presentation could not be simpler, the message could not be more intimate. ''I worked all the summer / And all the fall / Gonna spend Christmas / In my overalls. But I'll get a break, Somewhere, Before long''. It was Marion Keisker, quoting the lyrics from memory, ''a perfect example of the twelve-bar blues''. But she recognized, too, that its utter simplicity, its sound of unforced intimacy, was not in any way a matter of chance. It was a product of Sam Phillips trying to make every record as perfect as it could possibly be. Not perfect in the usual conventional terms, perfect on its own terms. What Sam was after, as he told her over and over, as he told anyone who would listen, was perfection of feeling, not perfection of technique.

Earl Peterson, later to recorded for Sun Records, joins WFYC radio in Alma, Michigan. He also starts the Nugget record label with Mrs. Pearle Lewis (his mother).

MARCH 2, 1953 MONDAY

Bonnie Lou recorded ''Seven Lonely Days'' in Cincinnati.

MARCH 3, 1953 TUESDAY

Alvyce King, of The King Sisters, is widowed with the death of husband Sydney DeAzevedo. The Kings had a 1946 country hit with a remake of ''Divorse Me C.O.D.''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR LLOYD ARNOLD (MCCOLLOUGH)
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MARCH 4, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM PHILLIPS

During 1953 and 1954 Lloyd and his band recorded several demos and acetates at the newly opened Memphis Recording Service, at 706 Union Avenue. During the nineties thirteen of these acetates were relocated by re-searcher Jim Cole, employed by the University of Memphis.

During those fun filled days, Lloyd and the Drifting Hillbillies had a great time performing at such places as ''The Old Dominion Barn Dance'', ''The Renfro Valley Barn Dance'', ''Red Foley’s Ozark Jubilee'' and the ''Louisiana Hayride''. In January of 1955 they performed at the ''Hillbilly Festival'' for WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia. In February and March they were in Little Rock, Arkansas at the ''Barnyard Frolic'' and in December they played ''The Big D Jamboree'' in Dallas, Texas. That same year he hosted another weekly radio program, for WBIP in Booneville, Mississippi.

01 – ''THE WORLD'S LONELY WITH YOU'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Lloyd McCollough
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Acetate
Recorded: March 4, 1953
Released: - Sun Unissued

02 – ''A WORD FROM GOD'S HELPER'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Lloyd McCollough
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Acetate
Recorded: March 4, 1953
Released: - Sun Unissued

03 – ''GONNA WIN YOUR LOVE AGAIN'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Lloyd McCollough
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Acetate
Recorded: March 4, 1953
Released: - Sun Unissued

04 – ''I GOT A FEEL FOR LOVE '' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Lloyd McCollough
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Acetate
Recorded: March 4, 1953
Released: - Sun Unissued

Name (Or. No. of Instruments)
Lloyd Arnold McCollough – Vocal and Guitar

The Drifting Hillbillies consisted of
Curley Rainey – Fiddle
Geneva McCollough – Vocal and Guitar
Jim McCollough – Upright Bass
Grady – Steel Guitar

For Biography of Lloyd Arnold see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR RPM RECORDS 1953

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY MARCH 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 – ''TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE''' – B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1957 Master
Recorded: - Probably March 1953
Released: - May 16, 1953
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single > RPM-384-A < mono
TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE / WE'RE ALL LOADED
Reissued: - 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-21 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

02 – ''WE'RE ALL LOADED (WHISKEY MADE ME DRUNK)''' – B.M.I. - 3:13
Composer: - Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1958 Master
Recorded: - Probably March 1953
Released: - May 16, 1953
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single > RPM-384-B < mono
WE'RE ALL LOADED / TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE
Reissued: - 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-22 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

03 – ''WHY DO I LOVE YOU BABY'' – B.M.I. - 3:02
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March 1953
Released: - 1998
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-23 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

04 – ''THROWIN' MY MONEY AWAY'' – B.M.I. - 3:22
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March 1953
Released: - 1998
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-24 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

Rosco's name is misspelled on all RPM labels.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal & Piano
Probably The Beale Streeters:
Johnny Ace - Piano
Bobby Bland - Guitar
Billy Duncan - Saxophone
Earl Forrest - Drums

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 <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR BIG MAMA THORNTON
FOR PEACOCK RECORDS 1952

STUDIO, RADIO RECORDERS, 7000 SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD, HOLLYWOOD
PEACOCK SESSION: THURSDAY AUGUST 13, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER: JOHNNY OTIS & DON ROBEY

Note: Some sources say that the song was recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, however, Johnny Otis said on several occasions "Hound Dog" was cut in Houston.

STUDIO AUDIO COMPANY OF AMERICA,
5520 WASHINGTON AVENUE, HOUSTON, TEXAS
RECORDING ENGINEER - BILL HOLFORD

01 - "HOUND DOG" - B.M.I. - 2:52
Composer: - Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller-Johnny Otis
Publisher: - Lion Publishing Corporation
Matrix number: - 2258
Recorded: - August 13, 1952
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Peacock Records (CS) 78rpm single Peacock 1612 mono
HOUND DOG/THEY CALL ME BIG MAMA
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-17 mono
RUFUS THOMAS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Willie Mae Big Mama Thornton - Vocal
With the Johnny Otis Orchestra
(credited as Kansas City Bill & Orchestra)
Devonia Williams - Piano / Albert Winston - Bass
Leard Bell - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

WILLIE MAE "BIG MAMA" THORNTON - (December 11, 1926-July 25, 1984) was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. She was the first to record the hit song "Hound Dog" in 1952. The songs was a number 1 on the Billboard Rhythm And Blues Charts for seven weeks. The B-side was "They Call My Big Mama", and the single sold almost two million copies. Three years later, Elvis Presley recorded his version, based on a version performed by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys. In a similar occurrence, she wrote and recorded "Ball 'N' Chain", which became a hit for her. Janis Joplin later recorded "Ball and Chain", and was a huge success in the late 1960s.

Willie Mae Thornton was born in Montgomery, Alabama. Her introduction to music started in the Baptist church. Her father was a minister and her mother was a church singer. She and her six siblings began to sing at a very early age. Thornton's musical aspirations led her to leave Montgomery in 1941, after her mother's death, when she was just fourteen, and she joined the Georgia-based Hot Harlem Revue. Her seven-year tenure with the Revue gave her valuable singing and stage experience and enabled her to tour the South.

In 1948, she settled in Houston, Texas, where she hoped for further her career as a singer. Willie Mae was also a self-taught drummer and harmonica player and frequently played both instruments on stage.

Thornton began her recording career in Houston, singing a contract with Peacock Records in 1951. While working with another Peacock artist, Johnny Otis, she recorded "Hound Dog", a song that composers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had given her in Los Angeles. The record was produced by Johnny Otis, and went to number one on the rhythm and blues chart. Although the record made her a star, she saw little of the profits.

She continued to record for Peacock until 1957 and performed with rhythm and blues package tours with Junior Parker and Ester Phillips. In 1954, Thornton was one of two witnesses to the death of blues singer Johnny Ace. Her career began to fade in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She left Houston and relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she mostly played local blues clubs.

In 1966, Thornton recorded "Big Mama Thornton With The Muddy Waters Blues Band", with Muddy Waters. Thornton's last album was "Jail" (1975) for Vanguard Records. It vividly captures her charm during a couple of mid-'70s gigs at two northwestern prisons. She became the talented leader of a blues ensemble that features sustained jams from Georgia "Harmonica" Smith, as well as guitarists B. Huston and Steve Wachman, drummer Todd Nelson, saxophonist Bill Porter, bassist Bruce Sieverson, and pianist J.D. Nicholas.

Thornton performed at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966 and 1968, and at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1979. In 1965 she performed with the American Folk Blues Festival package in Europe.

During her career, she appeared on stage from New York City's famed Apollo Theater in 1952 to the Kool Newport Jazz Festival in 1980, and she was nominated for the Blues Music Awards six times.

On July 25, 1984, Willie Mae Thornton died in Los Angeles of heart and liver complications, probably brought on by years of alcohol abuse which had reduced the onetime 350-pound "Big Mama" Thornton to a mere ninety-five pounds. Johnny Otis conducted her funeral services, and she was laid the rest in the famous Inglewood Park Cemetery, along with a number of notable people, including entertainment and sports personalities.

As an influence over the music and musicians which followed her, her importance cannot be overstated. Her name and legacy will forever remain the very greatest of blues legends. Thornton's mighty voice, take-no-guff attitude, and incendiary stage performances influenced generations of blues and rock singers and carried on the tradition of tough "blues mamas" like Bessie Smith, Memphis Minnie, and Ma Rainey.

MARCH 5, 1953 THURSDAY

Singer/songwriter Aaron Baker is born in Texas. Barker writes such George Strait hits as ''Baby Blue'', ''Easy Come, Easy Go'' and ''Love Without End, Amen'', plus Lonestar's ''What About Now'' and Clay Walker's ''You're Beginning To Get To Me''.

MARCH 6, 1953 FRIDAY

Singer/guitarist Phil Alvin is born in Los Angeles, California. He acts as frontman for The Blasters, a major influence on the blues, rockabilly and country genre. He also Supports Joe Walsh and Steve Earle on ''Honey Don't'' in the Beverly Hillbillies soundtrack.

MARCH 7, 1953 SATURDAY

Patsy Cline marries Gerald Cline in Frederick, Maryland.

Rock drummer Kenny Aronoff is born. After establishing himself with John Mellencamp, he plays on country hits by Travis Tritt, Willie Nelson and Jake Owen,

MARCH 8, 1953 SUNDAY

Rhythm and blues artist Rufus Thomas recorded ''Bear Cat'' at the Memphis Recording Studio. Producer Sam Phillips, who wrote the song, subsequently gets used for stealing the melody from ''Hound Dog''.

It would be eleven months before Rufus Thomas was back at Phillips' Memphis Recording Service, and this time the output would be on a hometown record label. Phillips had in fact toyed with his Sun label throughout 1952 and he had tried and failed with the country blues and nightclub saxophone instrumentals. Now he had a new partner - in Jim Bullet, an experienced record man from Nashville who know how to sell records - and a new style to sell in the form of a novelty rhythm and blues song about a Bear Cat. Phillips figured that the song was just right for the extrovert gravel voiced Rufus Thomas, (Rufus supported his family working five days a week in a textile mill from 6:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon) ever since his last session on April 21, 1952. Chess Records had released three singles on Rufus Thomas from the recordings Sam Phillips had submitted, but none of them had clicked, and Sam was convinced it was simply because he hadn't yet found Rufus the right material.

Rufus Thomas was more of an entertainer along the lines of a Louis Jordan than a straight blues singer, something brought home to Sam Phillips when he Rufus saw him perform his comedy and dancing routine ''Rufus and Bones, with Robert ''Bones'' Couch as the opening act for the ''Rocket 88'' Saturday/Sunday show at the Handy Theatre on the weekend of 7-8 April in 1951. With his gruff Louis Armstrong-influenced voice, quick wit, and eye-popping antics, he was the perfect candidate to reply to the harsh accusation Big Mama Thornton had thrown out in her song, this time leveling them a a ''bossy woman'', but Rufus balked at the idea at first. For one thing, he had never heard the expression Sam had found to give the song both its theme and title. Just what, he asked, was a ''bear cat'' when it came to male-female relations? Sam said he wasn't sure about Memphis, but this was a common phrase in the part of Alabama where he had grown up. Sam said, ''Rufus, hell, you don't know what a damn bear cat is? That's the meanest goddamn woman in the world''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR RUFUS THOMAS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY MARCH 8, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Quite a piece of history here. Big Mama Thornton's record "Hound Dog" appeared in stores in March, 1953, "Rabbit's Foot Minstrel" Rufus Thomas, a star disc jockey at WDIA in Memphis, was in as good a position as anyone to know what a smash it was going to be. Within days he was in the Sun studio recording an answer record. By the end of the month his "Bear Cat" was in stores. Even Billboard was impressed. "This is the fastest answer yet!" they observed on April 4th. A month later, "Bear Cat" was perched at number 3 on the Rhythm and Blues charts. Sun Records had just scored its first hit.

01 - "BEAR CAT" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 63 Master
Recorded: - March 8, 1953
Released: - March 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > SUN 181-A < mono
BEAR CAT / WALKING IN THE RAIN
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Billboard was not joking when it noted that "Bear Cat" was "the fastest answer- song to hit the market". Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" was shipped at the beginning of March 1953: "Bear Cat" was cut on March 8th, and was in the stores by the end of the month. It entered the Rhythm and Blues charts on April 18th and peaked at number 3 on May 2nd. It is not known exactly when Sam Phillips was served with an injunction by Don Robey, but it seems that that appeared quite promptly, too. Gimmickry aside, this is a very primitive record, driven along by Tuff Green's percussive string bass and Joe Hill Louis' spare electric guitar work. Louis takes an extended solo, after which Rufus manages to elbow his way back in.

To his credit Louis does not run short of ideas, although many were borrowed directly from Pete Lewis' the guitarist on Big Mama's original. The reality is that gimmickry really can't be wholly set aside, and as such this disc hasn't weathered as well as many of Phillips' commercially less-successful productions from this same period. Thirty years later, Sam's only comment was "I should have known better. The melody was exactly the same as their, but we claimed the credit for writing the damn thing*".

02 - "WALKING IN THE RAIN" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 64 Master
Recorded: - March 8, 1953
Released: - March 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > SUN 181-B < mono
WALKING IN THE RAIN / BEAR CAT
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Rufus Thomas does a creditable job of chanting on his own minor key blues, whilst Joe Hill Louis plays aggressively in the now-famous over amplified and distorted style perfected at 706 Union. Louis is supported by an under-recorded acoustic guitar - possibly played by bassist Tuff Green - and a clomping piano solo handled by Rufus Thomas himself. The song only makes a brief two-bar foray into a major key.

As good as "Walking" was in its way, it was the other side that Sam Phillips wanted to get the market. It is registered in his logbooks that he paid the three musicians fifteen dollars each and sent the master disc to Shaw for manufacturing the very same day they were recorded.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal and Piano
In Sam Phillips' check register against ''Talent 'Bear Cat' session'' it shows Albert Williams, piano, suggesting Williams was paid for playing on ''Walkin' In The Rain'' even though Thomas has said he played piano.
Joe Hill Louis contributes some stinging guitar work
especially during his extended 36-bar solo
Houston Stokes - Drums
Tuff Green - Guitar - 1 and Acoustic Bass soon to be known as 'slap'.

It would have been in character for Rufus to have the idea to parody the lyric on his radio show and to invent his own fearsome big cat to rival Big Mama's dog, and indeed people have spoken about hearing him do that on the radio. But in fact it was someone else who had the idea and who wrote the song. Rufus called, "No, I didn't write that song. Someone else wrote that". He wouldn't say who it was but the discussion was in the context of his relationship with Sam Phillips.

The composition was registered under Sam Phillips' name and Sam did talk in later years about working up songs with Rufus, though he never made much claim to have written "Bear Cat" outright. Maybe he did, or his wife Becky who helped him with the song in the early 1950s did, or perhaps they took the idea from someone else?

Either was, Sam was keen that Sun should record the song immediately, and that to increase the fun it would be made clear on the record label that this was the "answer to 'Hound Dog'" and that the singer going head to head with the Big Mama was Rufus "Hound Dog" Thomas Jr.

The elemental twelve-bar blues "Hound Dog" has been the subject of an inordinate number of lawsuits since Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller copyrighted it in early 1953. It was written for Big Mama Thornton (who also claimed to have written it while in the company of her favourite relative, Old Grandad). But back in March 1953 Elvis Presley was sitting on the side of his bed trying to learn the song, while Sam Phillips was sitting in the studio rewriting it as "Bear Cat". On this March 8, 1953, only a few weeks after Thornton's version had been released, Sam Phillips called local disc jockey Rufus Thomas into the studio to cut the song. In entered the national Rhythm and Blues charts on April 18, 1953, only two weeks after Thornton's original version, sparking Billboard to call it "the fastest answer song to hit the market". It eventually climbed all the way to number 3 on the Rhythm and Blues charts, becoming Sun Records' first hit.

A lawsuit from Don Robey at Peacock Records? Lion Music, correctly charging co pyright infringement, followed in short order. Sam Phillips didn't have a leg to stand on when the case came to trial in July 1953, and he was forced to surrender two cents a song to Lion Music along with court costs. "I should have known better", Phillips later remarked to Robert Palmer. "The melody was exactly the same as theirs". "For a black person", Rufus Thomas told Hugh Merrill, "when Sam Phillips heard Elvis Presley and those people, it was all over".

Lost in the shuffle, was an unspectacular but effective on the flip side. Joe Hill Louis again plays aggressively on the minor key blues "Walking In The Rain" suggests that under ideal conditions. Later the same month, Sun changed the song and the artist, added a "Just" to the title and tried again.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

RHYTHM AND BLUES NOTES
By Bob Rolontz

The answer to hit records are coming along faster than ever. This week a new diskette came out with an answer to Peacock's smash waxing of "Hound Dog" with thrush Willie Mae Thornton. "Hound Dog" was released only about three weeks ago and has turned out to be one of the fast-breaking hits in recent years.

It has already popped into The Billboard best-selling rhythm and blues charts. The answer to "Hound Dog" comes from Sun Records, Memphis, Tenn., diskette, a wild thing called "Bear Cat" sung by warbler Rufus Thomas Jr. It used to be that the answer to hits usually waited until the hit had started on the downward trail, but today the answers are ready a few days after records start moving upwards.

This has led some to remark that the diskettes soon may be bringing out the answers before the original records are released.

MARCH 1953

It is clear that SUN 181 was a serious rush-release. Within two weeks, Billboard was able to report: "The so-called answer record crazy is still going strong in the rhythm and blues field. This week a new diskette came out with an answer to Peacock's smash waxing of "Hound Dog" with thrush Willie Mae Thornton. "Hound Dog" was released only about three weeks ago and has turned out to be one of the fastest breaking hits in recent years. It has already popped into the best selling Rhythm And Blues Charts.

The answer to "Hound Dog" comes from Sun Records, Memphis, Tenn, diskery, a wild thing called "Bear Cat" sung by Rufus Thomas Jr. It used to be that the answer to hits usually waited until the hit had started on the downward trail, but today the answers are ready a few days after records start moving upwards. This has led some to remark that he diskeries soon may be bringing out the answer before the originals are even released.

MARCH 9, 1953 MONDAY

Decca released Webb Pierce's double-sided hit, ''I Haven't Got The Heart'' backed with ''The Last Waltz''.

MARCH 11, 1953 WEDNESDAY

Rock record producer Jimmy Lovine is born in Brooklyn, New York. Noted for his work with Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and Dire Straits, he oversees Bob Seger's 1983 country hit ''Shame On The Moon''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR D.A. HUNT
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY WEDNESDAY MARCH 11, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

The route that brought Hunt from Anniston, Alabama to Phillips' door is unclear. The session were held in March 1952, just as Phillips was readying the first Sun releases. Hunt's record was held back for over a year, which didn't really matter because it was already twenty years out-of-date.

01 - "LONESOME OLD JAIL" - B.M.I. – 2:57
Composer: - D.A. Hunt
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 69 Master
Recorded: - Probably March 11, 1953
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > SUN 183-A < mono
LONESOME OLD JAIL / GREYHOUND BLUES
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1-15 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

This performance is even gloomier than the plug side, as Hunt reflects on his baby whilst locked up in a cell. The vocal drips with feeling, making it hard to believe that this was recorded at 706 Union and not some Southern Penitentiary! The similarity to Lightnin' Hopkins is almost uncanny: the little flash of falsetto at the end of the line, the sour spoken asides, the interplay between vocal and guitar. According to researcher Steve LaVere, Hunt actually served time in one of Memphis' jails, but that was later. In 1953, his address was noted as Anniston, Alabama, and he was to be contacted via Reverend Noble Ulynn. Hunt was probably recorded in March 1953 and was back in Memphis in August to collect a nine dollar loan from Phillips. As far as we know, he never recorded again.

Lightnin' Hopkins was clearly Hunt's model right down to the pinched vocal, spoken asides and signature four-note closing lick. It was an almost eerie recreation of Hopkins' sound. From sixty years' distance, it's hard if not impossible to penetrate the logic behind what got released or remained unreleased on Sun.

Lightnin' himself was becoming a tough sell by 1953, so Phillips certainly wasn't jumping on a bandwagon as he was with ''Bear Cat''. Perhaps he simply liked Hunt's record, Perhaps a distributor around Hunt's home town of Anniston, Alabama guaranteed a sufficiently big order to justify a small run, Perhaps... we'll never know.

02 - "GREYHOUND BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - D.A. Hunt
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 70 Master
Recorded: - Probably March 11, 1953
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > SUN 183-B < mono
GREYHOUND BLUES / LONESOME OLD JAIL
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1-16 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Hunt laments the loss of his baby via public transport. There is some humor when he invokes the familiar 'Greyhound bus' - 'lowdown dog' analogy. For those who enjoy cross genre comparisons, consider country singer Frankie Miller's Starday recording "Mean Old Greyhound Bus" (Bear Family BFX 15128): Same sentiments, but yen years and a universe apart in style.

Returning to the country blues, Sam Phillips recorded the little-known D.A. Hunt from Mumford, Alabama on two titles reminiscent of Lightnin' Hopkins among others. The route that brought Hunt from Anniston, Alabama to Sam Phillips' door is unclear. The very guitar and vocal performance is nevertheless one of the most memorable on Sun although little more was heard from Hunt prior to his death some ten years later. Nonetheless this is excellent, standard Texas blues fare, and was well Worth putting out.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Daniel Augusta Hunt - Vocal and Guitar

Note: A Sun Records contract was issued to D.A. Hunt this day, suggesting that the session was held this day.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

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.

MARCH 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

Tennessee 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.

Western-swing singer/guitarist 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''.

Mab 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 Tulane Hotel.

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.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR DOCTOR ROSS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY MARCH/APRIL 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Early in 1953, probably March or April, Doctor Ross made another session for Sam Phillips but Phillips did not log the details and again nothing was issued. There appear to have been five or six songs recorded then, with Ross playing guitar and harmonica accompanied just by Reuben Martin on washboard. ''My Be Bop Gal'' was little more than a catchy title sung over and over against an incessant Ross-style rhythm. ''Texas Hop'' was a title taken from Pee Wee Crayton's 1948 hit of the same name but is not the same song. It doesn't bring us anything new but it's a great example of Ross's energetic and engaging style. ''Deep Down In The Ground'', noted on the tape box as ''Terra Mae'' and first issued as ''Taylor Mae'', is actually a slower tempo version of John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson's 1938 record which recycled his much-imitated ''Good Morning, School Girl'' riff. ''Turkey Bakin' Woman'' (previously logged and issued as ''Turkey Leg Woman'') is a highly spirited boogie based on Yank Rachell's Bluebird disc of ''Biscuit Baking Woman'' from 1941. Ross starts off singing about how his gal bakes her biscuits so nice but then quickly switches to extolling her turkey bakin' process.

* 01(1) - "DEEP DOWN IN THE GROUND
(TAILOR MAE) (TERRA MAE)" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Sonny Boy Williamson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March/April 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-16 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

* 01(2) - "DEEP DOWN IN THE GROUND
(TAILOR MAE) (TERRA MAE)" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Sonny Boy Williams
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March/April 1953
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 37 mono
BACK COUNTRY BOOGIE
Reissued: - 2013 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-6 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

Researchers are occasionally prone to effect a curious selectivity when it comes to decihering the labels on old tape boxes. Whilst "Housten Boise" is silently amended to "Houston Boines", this title - clearly identified on its as "Tailor Mae" - was identified on the original Sun Blues Box as the incomprehensible "Terra Mae". It is in fact a word-for-word recreation of the opening verses from John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson's record "Deep Down In The Ground", recorded for Bluebird in June 1938. In a 1965 interview, Doctor Ross even referred to this recording by Williamson's title. Williamson took this version of the song from Sleepy John Estes, and Ross repeats Sonny Boy's mishearing of Estes' line, "That woman is tailor made, she ain't no hand-me-down".

02(1) - "TEXAS HOP" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March/April 1953
Released: - 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127-B-5 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 12 - UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-18 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

This was one of Doctor Ross' generic boogie workouts that all seemed to follow a roughly equivalent course. There is little to choose between the two takes he recorded of this piece - the significant difference being that he plays some three choruses of harmonica before chanting the title, whereas on the second take, plagued by interference from the guitar's amplifier, he chants the title after just one.

The Doctor took this title from Pee Wee Crayton's 1948 hit of the same name, but the two songs otherwise had nothing in common. After Ross's Chess single did no business, Sam Phillips decided to persevere with him, recording this very soon after relaunching Sun Records. The nest session, six or seven months later, would yield Ross's first Sun single.

02(2) - "TEXAS HOP" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March/April 1953
Released: - August 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 12 - UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 2013 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-14 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

04 - ''TURKEY LEG WOMAN'' - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March/April 1953
Released: - 1972
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (LP) 33rpm Arhoolie F 1065 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - HIS FIRST RECORDINGS
Reissued: - June 14, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16939-16 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

''1953 Jump'' is another boogie breakdown where Ross attempts to get a dance craze started and provides some interesting autobiographical interjections about being the eleventh child, and ''that's supposed to be lucky, man''. Although Ross hadn't managed to nail anything sufficiently for Phillips to want to issue it at the turn of 1953, Sam did recognise that there was something in Ross that could be captured. Surely one of his boogies would come out right, so Phillips decided to persevere with him. The next session, some six months later, would yield Ross's first Sun single.

05 – ''1953 JUMP'' - B.M.I. - 1:33
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably March/April 1953
Released: - 1987
First appearance: - P-Vine Records (LP) 33rpm PLP-352 (JP) mono
DOCTOR ROSS - MEMPHIS BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - June 14, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16939-17 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Billboard gave both sides of Doctor Ross single good reviews in January, 1954, calling them "two good juke box sides". Its true that juke joints and jukeboxes no longer dot the rural south, but the music on SUN 193 is not dated. Sam Phillips would be proud. The fundamental honestly of this music has rendered it as close to 'timeless' as one might imagine.

The blues releases on Sun tapered off during 1954. There were two singles (and reels and reels of unissued cuts) from the eccentric Doctor Ross, who epitomized all that Sam Phillips loved about the blues. His approach was rhythmic, propulsive, and countrified. Ross had worked as a one-man band, but Sam Phillips usually brought in some backup musicians when he recorded at Sun. By this time Sam Phillips had perfected his use of slapback echo and used it to give a dept and resonance to the primitive drive of Rose's music; yet even a superficial comparison of that music with the rhythm and blues hits of 1953 and 1954 shows how anachronistic Ross had become - a fact Ross may have recognized before Phillips.

06 – ''MY BE BOP GAL'' - B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March/April 1953
Released: - June 14, 2013
First appearance: Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16839-13 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Doctor Ross - Vocal, Guitar, Drums and Harmonica
Reuben Martin - Washboard

* This song was formerly issued as ''Terra Mae'' or ''Tailor Made/Mae''.
Note: Doctor Ross recorded other versions of these songs on this session.

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

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