CONTAINS
For audio recordings click on the available > buttons <
> Back 1953 Sun Schedule <

1953 SESSIONS (1)
January 1, 1953 to January 31, 1953

Studio Session for Willie Carr, 1952/1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Howard Seratt, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Luke McDaniel, January 13, 1953 / Trumpet Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, January 1953 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Sun Spot Quartet, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Handy Jackson, January 1953 / Sun Records 

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Playlists of the Artists can be found on 706 Union Avenue Sessions of > YouTube <
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

1952/1953

For the rest of 1952 and early 1953 Ike Turner and his Kings Of Rhythm toured. They played Florida and may have recorded for Henry Stone in Miami but his remains unconfirmed. Ike was still contracted to the Biharis but this didn't stop him recording two singles at Sun in July and August 1953.

This year saw the growth of the buy now pay later mentality with car makers leading the way by allowing longer and longer periods to pay for your new car. Queen Elizabeth II crowned queen of England. The unions gained strength with more and more workers belonging to unions, with wage and price controls ended and unemployment at 2.9% the increases in standard of living continued to grow and appear to have no boundaries. A teachers average salary was $4,254 and a pound of round steak was 90 cents. The first color television sets appear selling for $1,175, and transistor radios start to appear for sale.

1953

Clyde McPhatter leaves the Dominoes after three years and 9 huge hits to form the Drifters for Atlantic Records who will hit number 1 out of the box with "Money Honey" that summer.

The first clear evidence of soul music shows up with the "5" Royales, an ex-gospel group that turned to racy rhythm and blues and in Faye Adams who's spiritual plea in a secular realm, "Shake A Hand" becomes an immediate rhythm and blues standard.

Bill Haley changes his group's name to the more youthful Comets and writes the first white rock hit, "Crazy Man Crazy", reaching #13 on the Top Billboard Charts in May, the highest position for a rock song to date.

The Rhythm & Blues Charts begin to reflect the overwhelming dominance of emerging rock and roll with such hits as Big Joe Turner's "Honey Hush", Johnny Ace's "The Clock" and Ruth Brown's "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean". Only one pure blues record tops the chart the entire year, a significant shift from past years when blues had a steady presence on those charts.

15 million rhythm and blues records are bought in 1953, while that accounts for just 5% of all records sold it begins to draw notice in the industry which fails to note the growing interest among young white audiences that will soon have a major impact on society as a whole.

A great year for the sanguine stylings of vocalist Eddie Fisher, whom Coca-Cola offered the unheard of sum of $1 million to be its corporate spokesman. Beloved by teens and older folks alike, the pleasant-voiced tenor scored thirty-five songs in the Top 40 between 1950 and 1956. Along the way he would have five wives, including Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds. Also doing well this year were the immortal Les Paul, the guitarist and recording studio innovator (one of the first to use multi-track recording), and the demure sex kitten singer Theresa Brewer.

One year after its launch, Sun rides high in the rhythm and blues charts via Rufus Thomas' "Bear Cat".

1953

Soon after graduating from high school in 1953, future Sun recording artist Harold Jenkins (aka Conway Twitty) went to Chicago to work on the line at International Harvester, supporting his first wife and their young son, Michael. The Philadelphia Phillies baseball club wanted him, but the U.S. Army wanted him more.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

If nothing else, Willie Carr demonstrates the capriciousness of the music business. On the evidence of just one song, ''Outside Friend'', he was as good as many of the artists on Union Avenue who sustained careers in music. Instead, this is the only known recording.

Researcher Bob Eagle asked around about Carr, finding out that he was in Greenville, Mississippi with Willie Love around 1950, and probably recorded ''Outside Friend'' for Sam Phillips in 1953 or 1954. When Eagle asked Walter Horton about Carr, Horton replied that he'd seen him playing guitar around Grenada, Mississippi. That was in the early 1970s. Was it the same guy? From this distance, it's impossible to say.

STUDIO SESSION FOR WILLIE CARR
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1952/1953

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1952/1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM PHILLIPS

Willie Carr was good. A disciple of Sonny Boy Williamson perhaps, but a worthy one. Someone as good as Carr should have made records, and that alone shows the capriciousness of the business. What little we know of him is related in the artiest biographies, but we have no idea how or when he came to record this acetate at the Memphis Recording Service. Steve LaVere, who discovered the acetate, suggested 1952 or 1953. Without a band, he had to carry the show on his own, and doesn't miss a beat or leave much dead air. His vocal is finely shaded, and his song appears to be original. It first appeared on a 1985 Krazy Kat LP, ''Memphis Blues: Unissued Titles From the 1950's''.

> OUTSIDE FRIEND <
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (2:02)
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1952/1953
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Frazy Kat Records (LP) N33rpm Krazy Kat KK 7427 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - UNISSUED TITLES FROM THE 1950s
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-10/9 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Willie Carr - Vocal & Harmonica

For Biography Willie Carr see: > The Sun Biographies <
Willie Carr's Sun recording can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JANUARY 1953

Sam Phillips recorded a young man just about his own age with one of the clearest and most beautiful voices Sam had ever heard. Howard Seratt was the twelfth of seventeen children, born on March 9, 1922, and raised on a farm outside Manila, Arkansas, who had contracted polio before the age of two. Though he remained on crutches for the rest of his life, he never let his handicap limit him. He taught himself harmonica and guitar at an early age, sang in a hillbilly band during the war, and then, after a religious conversation, turned to spiritual music exclusively. Which was how a Forrest City disc jockey named Larry Parker discovering him, singing and accompanying himself in a church in Mariana, and was so struck by his talent that he got the idea of starting a record label just to put out records by Howard Seratt. So Larry brought Howard to Sam Phillips to record him, and they cut two titles, ''Make Room In The Life Boat For Me'' and ''Jesus Means All To Me'', which Parker put out on his newly formed St. Francis label. Sam had tried halfheartedly at that time to persuade Seratt to record some secular songs, but it was clear Howard was not going to deviate from his beliefs, and Sam was the last person in the world to try to impose his vision on another. In later years Howard Seratt was a highly skilled watchmaker, who owned Howard's Jewelry Store in San Jacinto, California. The local newspaper had written him up as Businessman of the week in March 1971, revealing the story of a well-liked pillar of the religious and business community, without even mentioning Howard's other career in music.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR HOWARD SERATT
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953

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

The name Howard Seratt had been an intriguing imprint on the label of an obscure Sun 78rpm for some years. There had only been one Sun record because Sam Phillips had wanted Howard to reach a bigger market through singing country songs, and Howard's strongly-felt religious views had prevented him from taking that route. As far as other recordings, it turned out that two other songs had been recorded at Sun and issued on a custom label, St. Francis. In later years, Howard Seratt had made some more country gospel recordings in California, just for his own amusement.

> MAKE ROOM IN THE LIFEBOAT FOR ME <
Composer: - Delmore Brothers
Publisher: - S.E.S.A.C.
Matrix number: - U 49 - Master (2:35)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953
Released: - February 1954
First appearance: - St. Francis Records (S) 78rpm standard single St. Francis 100-A mono
MAKE ROOM IN THE LIFEBOAT FOR ME / JESUS MEANS ALL TO ME
Reissued: - November 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-3/1 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 – 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-2/5 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

From the very first harmonica notes it is clear that this is going to be no ordinary record. It is not that harmonica players were a rarity in the mid-South, for Howard Seratt is merely adapting the music of Lonnie Glosson and Wayne Raney who had been firm radio favorites for many years. Indeed, it was Wayne Raney's pals, the Delmore Brothers, who originated ''Make Room In The Lifeboat For Me'' recording it for Decca in 1940. It has more to do with the reassuringly solid execution of both guitar and harmonica styles and the convincing tone in which Howard delivers the moving lyrics. This recording was made in 1953 by Sam Phillips as a custom order for the short-lived St. Francis label of Forrest City, Arkansas. It would not be long before Sam Phillips would invite Howard back to record for Sun.

Howard Seratt actually recorded and released another single at his own expense, at the time of his first (and only) SUN release. The U-49 and U-50 matrix numbers and the vinyl trail-off etchings, shows that the record was manufactured at the same time and place as the SUN release. In fact, SUN 198 indeed has the words 'St Francis' etched into the trail-off grooves, indicating that it wasn't intended for SUN use.

> JESUS MEANS ALL TO ME <
Composer: - Howard Seratt
Publisher: - S.E.S.A.C.
Matrix number: - U 50 - Master (2:16)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953
Released: - February 1954
First appearance: - St. Francis Records (S) 78rpm standard single St. Francis 100-B mono
JESUS MEANS ALL TO ME / MAKE ROOM IN THE LIFEBOAT FOR ME
Reissued: - November 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-3/2 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 – 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-2/6 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

On ''Jesus Means All To Me'', again adapting the harmonica style of Lonnie Glosson and Wayne Raney, this time at a brighter tempo, Howard Seratt leads into another deeply felt religious message that is so attractively delivered and yet so disarming as to momentarily convert even the most confirmed of atheists.

It is at this faster pace that one can particularly see the reason why Sam Phillips was so taken with Howard's music and so anxious to open negotiations with him about the possibility of recording of some secular music.

As for the man himself, Howard Seratt turned out to be a highly skilled watchmaker who owned Howard's Jewelry Store in San Jacinto. The local newspapers had written him up as Businessman of the week in March 1971, revealing the story of a well-liked pillar of the religious and business community, without even mentioning Howard's other career in music.

"Another man from around that time was the crippled gospel singer, Howard Seratt", recalled Sam Phillips. "Now Howard had probably one of the best voices I've ever heard. But he would only do religious music and I just didn't have the market for that. I thought he was so good that I issued the record anyway".

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howard Seratt - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica

Howard Serett was a throwback to an earlier era. Sam Phillips still vividly recalls Seratt, a crippled country gospel singer from Manila, Arkansas. ''Oh that man! I never heard a person, no matter what category of music, could sing as beautifully. The honesty, the integrity, the communication... That unpretentious quality. His music just had a depth of beauty about it in its simplicity''. Phillips asserted that he would have loved to have recorded Seratt indefinitely, but Seratt remembers that there was a rider attached to that offer; he would have to record secular music, which he was unwilling to do.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

1953

By 1953 Roy Orbison and his band, got their own show on KERB sponsored by local businessmen one day a week before school. The Wink Westerner's first appearance was at one of the school assemblies. They were also featured on the KERB Jamboree on Saturday afternoons with local Country & Western bands.

The first songs they played were "Kaw-liga", "Mexican Joe", "Caribbean", and "Under the Double Eagle". But they were not only country, little by little they began playing and making string arrangements for Big-Band standards and instrumentals like "In The Mood" or "Little Brown Jug" as well as Pop standards.

During the summer, Orbison would work for the County shoving tar, or work in the oil fields chopping steel or painting water towers. He used to be part of the marching band and singing octet, and at some point or another tried to play the baritone horn. He even had become the manager of Wink High school's Kittens football team in 1952.

The Orioles' "Crying in the Chapel" is the first black hit to top the white pop charts.

Leo Fender invents the Stratocaster guitar.

Sam Phillips or Marion Keisker records the first Elvis Presley record on July, in his Sun studio of Memphis using two recorders to produce an effect of "slapback" audio delay.

The black market constitutes 5.7% of the total American market for records.

Vee-Jay Records is founded in Indiana, is owned by James and Vivian Bracken, specializing in black music.

JANUARY 1953

By mid-January Sam Phillips and Jim Bulleit they were in business and Sun Records is re-launched with the singles ''Got My Application Baby'' b/w ''Trouble (Will Bring You Down)'' Sun 177 by Handy Jackson; ''We All Gotta Go Sometime'' b/w ''She May Be Yours (But She Comes To See Me Sometime)'' Sun 178 by Joe Hill Louis and ''Baker Shop Boogie'' b/w ''Seems Like A Million Years'' Sun 179 by Willie Nix. Distribution is organized by Jim Bulleit, owner of Delta and J.B Records, and former owner of Nashville-based Bullet Records. Sam Phillips now ceases to record music for license to other labels and concentrates on developing Sun.

There was a moment when Sam Phillips was prepared to defer to Bulleit's more established name in the industry and wondered if they should call their new venture Bullet Records, but when he found out that the ''Bullet'' name was tied up by Bulleit's original partners, he wrote that after thinking it over, he believed ''Sun'' ''to be as good as any other label name we could conjure up and I, of course, have had the art work done and have got three electro-plates that we can use, and, then we can save $50..00 or $60.00 and too can get labels immediately''.

The initial release that Sam Phillips had in mind was going to be three solid blues efforts, the sides by Charles Thomas, a vocal and an instrumental by West Memphis blues personality Willie Nix, and two sides from Joe Hill Louis sessions with pianist Albert Williams and Nix on drums. At the last minute, though, Sam changed his mind. ''You will note that I have changed the flip side of Nix's number'', he wrote to Jim Bulleit on January 15, ''and put another vocal instead of the instrumental''. Also, instead of the Charles Thomas, he had decided to release ''a number by a boy I do not know'', Handy Jackson's ''Trouble (Will Bring You Down)'', a slow ''crying'' blues with a blurry overamplified sound that seemingly had little to recommend it other than Sam's instant and instinctive feeling for it. ''I really believe in this number'', he wrote to Bulleit immediately after recording it in the midst of a session that featured pianist and vocalist Gay Garth, following up several days later by stressing that Jackson, a singer with whom prior to the session Garth himself was altogether unfamliliar, was the one he was ''banking on''. Sun Records was reborn.

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of activity and practical advice. Jim Bulleit advised Sam Phillips to make sure he numbered his invoices consecutively, to be aware that while 78s remained the dominant format in the southern rhythm and blues marked, 45s were making rapid inroads and Sam should be prepared to start their manufacture in significant numbers at some point soon. Jim Bulleit offered to put Charles Thomas out on his own label if Sam liked, almost as if Sun and J-B Records were two branches of the same business. Jim educated Sam about the federal excise tax, a 10 percent surcharge on manufacturing costs that was a holdover from the war years and that added 4.2 cents to the cost of every record you pressed, regardless of how many you sold. Since Jim Bulleit was going to own the publishing on all of the songs they recorded, Sam Phillips should get a co-write on as many of them as possible. Jim and Sam needed to squeeze every penny that they could out of every record that they released if they wanted to survive. Jim could speak from experience, it was going to be a very tight squeeze.

JANUARY 1953

Teenager and future Sun recording artist, Narvel Felts had moved with his parents to Powe, Missouri in 1953 and he went to school in Bernie where, early in 1956, Felts was in a high school talent contest.

JANUARY 1, 1953 THURSDAY

Hank Williams dies in the backseat of his Cadillac on New Years Day. The circumstances of Williams's death are still controversial. Many believe he died from a mix of alcohol and morphine. Some have claimed that Williams was dead before leaving Knoxville. Oak Hill is still believed to be the place where Williams died, but one of the more plausible theories states that Williams died in his sleep about 20 to 30 minutes before his car arrived in Oak Hill. There is a monument dedicated to his memory across the street from the gas station where Charles Carr sought help. The Cadillac in which Williams died is now preserved at the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

Justin Tubb attends the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, where the Texas Longhorns shut out the Tennessee Volunteers 16-0.

Marvin Rainwater writes ''Hearts Hall Of Fame''. The next day, it becomes the first song he recorded.

JANUARY 2, 1953 FRIDAY

Marvin Rainwater holds his first recording session, cutting his debut single, ''Hearts Hall Of Fame'', at the Ben Adelman Studio in Washington, D.C. The backing band includes Roy Clark on guitar.

JANUARY 4, 1953 SUNDAY

Hank Williams' funeral draws more than 20,000 people in Montgomery, Alabama. A country choir led by Webb Pierce, Red Foley, Little Jimmy Dickens and Carl Smith performs ''I Saw The Light''. Ernest Tubb offers ''Beyond The Sunset''.

JANUARY 5, 1953 MONDAY

Decca released Webb Pierce's twp-sided single, ''I'll Go On Alone'' backed by ''That's Me Without You''.

JANUARY 6, 1953 TUESDAY

Catherine Yvonne Stone is born in Montgomery, Alabama. In a protracted legal dispute as an adult, she proves she's the daughter of Hank Williams, by Bobbie W. Jett. She subsequently uses the stage name Jett Williams.

JANUARY 7, 1953 WEDNESDAY

The Presley's moved into a small house at 698 Saffarans Avenue (398 Cypress Street). It was a small apartment house in which - for $52-a-month rent - they secured two downstairs rooms. It was easy to understand why the living situation at 698 Saffarans Avenue depressed Elvis Presley. In theory, 698 Saffarans Avenue was a step from Lauderdale Courts public housing because the rent was higher and the Presley's no longer had to go through the ritual of qualifying for low-income housing. The Saffarans Avenue apartment was disastrous. It was a small unit desperately in need of paint, new plumbing, and adequate lighting. There were other reasons for Elvis' unhappiness with his new surrounding. each morning he arose and complained about the squalid sanitary conditions. The common bathroom was down the hall, and Elvis Presley found it cold and dirty. The water was never hot and the bathtub was always filled with hair. His experiences at this apartment created an aversion to bathing, and Elvis Presley showered only when absolutely necessary. He cultivated the habit of purchasing large bottles of Aqua Velva after-shave, and splashed the lotion all over his body. The result was a disconcerting smell, a cross between body odour and lilacs. The real reason that the family moved was because, the income has rice to more than $4,000 annually, $1,500 above the limit to live in the public housing project.

Days after Hank Williams' death, Joni James recorded a hit pop version of ''Your Cheatin' Heart'' at the Universal Studios in Chicago.

JANUARY 8, 1953 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley's parents give him a $50 Lincoln for his 18th birthday. His mother doesn't know how to drive, and he becomes her chauffeur.

Just one week after Hank Williams' death, his window, Billie Jones Williams, blasts Hank's mother, ''She is trying to cheat me out of everything, but I think she will fail''.

One week after the passing of a legend, Jack Cardwell recorded the tribute hit ''The Death Of Hank Williams'' in Mobile, Alabama.

JANUARY 12, 1953 MONDAY

Kitty Wells recorded ''Paying For That Back Street Affair'', at the Tulan Hotel's Castle Studio in Nashville.

T. Texas Taylor recorded ''Bumming Around''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR LUKE MCDANIEL
FOR TRUMPET RECORDS 1953

RADIO WLAU STUDIO, LAUREL, MISSISSIPPI
TRUMPET SESSION: TUESDAY JANUARY 13, 1953
OVERDUB AT ACA STUDIO, HOUSTON, TEXAS
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – UNKNOWN

By now future Sun recording artist Luke McDaniel 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 Records. Nathan signed Luke to King and the new partnership licked off with a very Hank Williams inspired session in June 1953. Recording for one of the biggest Independants certainly helped Luke to secure many more shows, along with radio and TV appearances all through the South.

A TRIBUTE TO HANK WILLIAMS, MY BUDDY
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Goble Music
Matrix number: - DRC-127 - Master (2:44)
Recorded: - January 13, 1953
Released: - January 1953
First appearance: - Trumpet Records (S) 78rpm Trumpet 185 mono
A TRIBUTE TO HANK WILLIAMS, MY BUDDY / THIS CRYING HEART
Trumpet 185 misnumbered as Trumpet 184.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Luke McDaniel - Vocal & Guitar
Bill Buckner - Guitar (Overdub)

© - 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 JANUARY 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

> I'M IN LOVE <
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1937 - Master (2:46)
Recorded: - Probably January 1953
Released: - January 31, 1953
First appearance: RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 379-A mono
I'M IN LOVE / JUST IN FROM TEXAS
Reissued: - 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-20 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

> JUST IN FROM TEXAS <
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1936 - Master (2:42)
Recorded: - Probably January 1953
Released: - January 31, 1953
First appearance: RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 379-B mono
JUST IN FROM TEXAS / I'M IN LOVE
Reissued: - 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-19 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 - ©

JANUARY 1953

Sun Records is re-launched with three blues discs. Sam Phillips now ceases to record music for license to other labels and concentrates on developing Sun Records.

JANUARY 1953

A more concerted effort to break into the black gospel held was made by Sam's brother Jud, who started the Sun Spot label In Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Some of the releases by the Sun Spot Quartet carried a spoken introduction from Jud and were almost certainly recorded by Sam in Memphis. Marion Keisker recalled that the label was launched at the time Elvis Presley came into Sun to record his first personal disc, which would place it in 1953. There were at least four releases on Sun Spot, and it may have been seen as a companion label to Sun; but little more is known of the venture than the music contained on those records.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR SUN SPOT QUARTET
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM PHILLIPS
AND/OR JUD PHILLIPS

Although he has made far less of a mark on history than his brother, Jud Phillips was no stranger to the music business. Perhaps best known for his own Judd label (started in 1958), Jud was an essential part of Sun's earliest success, working behind the scene with disc jockeys and distributors. But before there was even a Memphis Recording Service, Jud Phillips was actively involved in gospel music. By the early 1950s, Jud and Dean Phillips were living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Dean recalls, "We were both very involved with gospel music when we met and married. Jud was booking and MCing shows. He managed the Sun Spot Quartet and I played piano when they performed".

Through his involvement with Sun, Jud had become familiar with the workings of the record business. Recording the Sun Spot Quartet seemed the next obvious step. However, brother Sam was skeptical about their sales potential. Undeterred, Jud started his own label, which bare the name of the Quartet. The choice of name seemed natural enough.

Sam already had an emerging record company (although still pre-Elvis) with a related name. Perhaps equally important was the fact that Jud owned the Mississippi distributorship for Sun Spot Orange - an extremely popular soft drink in the south. The bottling plant that Jud's father-in-law had set up for him and working for the Petal Water and Sewer Company. Dean Phillips notes, "They didn't finance the label at all, but they were quite happy to see the name of their product on those records".

> ROUNDUP IN GLORY <
Composer: - V.B. "Vep" Ellis
Publisher: - S.E.S.A.C. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - 1003-A - Not Originally Issued (2:55)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953
Released: - 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16387-14 mono
SUN GOSPEL

> ON THAT JUSGEMENT DAY <
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - S.E.S.A.C. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - 1002-B - Not Originally Issued (2:32)
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953
Released: - Not Originally Issued
First appearance: - Sample

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Dean Phillips - Vocal and Piano
Jud Phillips - Vocal
C.M. Lingle - Vocal
Gerald Howell - Vocal
George West - Vocal
Bill Wilson - Vocal

Dean Phillips, who played piano or organ on all the Sun Spot recordings, recalls a total of 16 sides being recorded at 706 Union and is certain that eight singles were released. The records were almost certainly pressed in very limited quantity and distributed largely in and around Mississippi. Numbering began with Sun Spot 1000 and - if Dean's recollection is correct - may have reached 1007, although 1005 is the highest number accounted for. There were no other releases on the Sun Spot label. Jud and Dean Phillips' involvement in gospel music did not end with Sun Spot.

Several years later, Jud managed and Dean provided piano accompaniment for a Quartet featuring Troy Daniel and gospel legend Jake Hess. Perhaps most intriguing about the Sun Spot records are the spoken introductions offered by Jud, himself.

Not all selections included this feature, which provide a glimpse of Jud's MCing technique when the quartet was on the road. On this only track, which the entire personnel (including Jud's wife) was introduced. According to Dean, singer George West was last known to be living in Jackson, Mississippi, and Gerald Howell in Nashville.

C.M. Lingle died a number of years ago and bass singer Bill Wilson passed away during the Fall of 1999, just a month before learning that his music from nearly half a century ago was to be reissued.

For Biography of The Sun Spot Quartet see: > The Sun Biographies <
Sun Spot Quartet's Sun recording can be heard on his track from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR HANDY JACKSON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953

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

Sun's false dawn in April 1952 produced just one commercial issued record and two intended releases that somehow never made it to the retail counters. Sun 177 was the second Sun record, issued at the end of January 1953 along with discs by Joe Hill Louis and Willie Nix. The flow of records ended fifteen years later in January 1968.

Frustratingly, there remains some mystery about the singer and about the attribution of both sides of this disc to Handy Jackson. Sam Phillips logged ''Got My Application'' by a man named Gay Garth, and in 1984 he told Martin Hawkins that he ''remembered'' Gay Garth as ''a local musician who had potential for making both blues and jazz''. Sam said that he ''did not recall'' Handy Jackson and, surprisingly, couldn't remember why the recording appeared as by Jackson. At first, he said Garth was Jackson, and then he said he wasn't sure. When Gaylord Garth was finally interviewed in 2004, he confirmed that he was indeed the singer and pianist on this song but he didn't know Jackson's name. He recorded ''Application'' with another song, ''Screamin' And Cryin''', at the end of the session where he was part of a band led by saxophonist Willie Wilkes, Garth and Wilkes were employed to back a singer who was not part of their band and whose name Garth had forgotten.

> GOT MY APPLICATION BABY <
Composer: - Sam Phillips-Handy Jackson
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 55 - Master (3:05)
Recorded: - Unknown Date January 1953
Released: - January 30, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single Sun 177-A mono
GOT MY APPLICATION BABY / TROUBLE (WILL BRING YOU DOWN)
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1/3 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

This was one of three Sun singles issued on January 30, 1953, as the re-launch programme. It features the typical over amplification of the rhythm section - and, like the first Sun release, showcases the music of a local artist of whom Sam Phillips thought highly. Sam recalled seeing potential for both jazz and blues in Handy Jackson (real name Gay Garth) although he could recall little else about the band, whose qualities are not fully obvious from his straightforward city blues. Jackson brings an appealing and anguished vocal to the slightly obscure lyric, and there is a plaintive quality to the saxophone work.

SCREAMIN' AND CRYING*
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date January 1953

There are several subtle differences between this newly-discovered alternate take of ''Trouble'', and its issued counterpart. The guitar is up in the mix on the issued version but almost inaudible here. After the sax break, Jackson changes his phrasing on ''getting late in the evening...''. On this version he adopts the sly insinuation of Percy Mayfield; he's more full-throated on the record. But we're still as much in the dark about who Handy Jackson was and how he happened to be at Sun in 1953. It certainly sounds like Johnny London on the screaming alto sax but London swears it's not him, as did Gaylord Garth, who played piano on the song. If the grave marked Handy Jackson that Jim O'Neal discovered in Leflore County, Mississippi holds our man, it holds the story of this recording, too.

> (HAVE YOU EVER HAD) TROUBLE** <
Composer: - Handy Jackson
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued (2:32)
Recorded: - Unknown Date January 1953
Released: - March 8, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9/1 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

> TROUBLE (WILL BRING YOU DOWN)** <
Composer: - Handy Jackson-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 56 - Master (2:58)
Recorded: - Unknown Date January 1953
Released: - January 30, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single Sun 177-B mono
TROUBLE (WILL BRING YOU DOWN) / GOT MY APPLICATION BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1/4 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

After the trails of getting one record onto the marked in 1952, Sun was effective launched in January 1953 with three releases. This is the least known. Jackson was apparently a local bandleader who sings on "Trouble (Will Bring You Down". The vocal on "Got My Application Baby" however, is credited to one Gay Garth who may or may not be the same person. The other band members remain unidentified. They play in an earthier style than Johnny London, but still some way removed from the delta blues of Joe Hill Louis.

Piano leads off this slow blues song with some passion by Handy Jackson. An alto sax plays a florid obbligato throughout the song and struggles manfully through a solo chorus that is muddied by the rest of the band giving it what for in the middle register. The three verses struggle without success to avoid cliche: "I laid awake last night watching the stars go by/our heart will ache with pain when your baby says goodbye". Although issued along side Joe Hill Louis relaunch’s Sun, Jackson never recorded again.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Handy Jackson - Vocal**
Gay Garth - Vocal* and Piano
Willie Wilkins or Johnny London - Saxophone
Possibly - Robert Carter - Guitar
Possibly William Cooper - Drums

For Biography of Handy Jackson/Gay Garth see: > The Sun Biographies <
Handy Jackson/Gay Garth's Sun recording can be heard on the playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Handy Jackson is the name of the artist and songwriter shown on the label of Sun 177. Despite the fact that his was one of the releases selected to relaunch the Sun label in January 1953, precious little is known about Handy Jackson other than he was a local musician, who fronted his own tight rhythm and blues combo. However, we do know now that the singer on one side of the disc was named Gay Garth and the rest of the story is to be found under his name.

By coincidence, while exploring one of the graveyards in Leflore Country, Mississippi, where Robert Johnson was allegedly buried (but apparently was not, given subsequent discoveries). Than Jim O'Neal found a headstone for Handy Jackson, but according to census data he would have been 47 years old at the time of the Sun disc. Several other people with the same name, can be found in censuses. Then again, just possibly, the name could relate to the family of Al Jackson, who often played in Memphis at the Club Handy.

Gaylord ''Gay'' Garth for over five decades Gaylord Garth went about his business not knowing he had appeared on Sun Records under anothers name, and for those same decades record collectors and music historians went about their business not knowing that the singer on an ultra-rare disc credited to Handy Jackson was living and working in Chicago, singing and playing weekends in night clubs on the South Side where he was known as ''The Arkansas Belly Roller''. Then, fifty years after Garth's appearance in Sam Phillips studio and the release of Sun 177, ''Got My Application Baby'' and ''Trouble (Will Bring You Down)'', there appeared a picture in Juke Blues magazine captioned ''Gaylord Garth'', the Arkansas Belly Roller''. This just had to be the man Sam Phillips had entered into his notebook as Gay Garth.

Sam Phillips' logbook gave Garth's name, his address in Memphis of 131 Essex Street, and noted that Garth had recorded two songs on a 16 inch acetate. He did not record the date of the session but he did note that one of the songs, ''Got My Application Baby'', was issued on January 30, 1953 on Sun 177 along with a different, third, song titled ''Trouble'', after which he put the name Handy Jackson in brackets. When Sun 177 was pressed the name of the performer on both sides was shown as Handy Jackson and there was no mention of Gay Garth at all.

So when Juke Blues arranged for Davis Whiteis to talk to Gaylord Garth about his former life in Memphis it meant that all the mystery were about to be resolved, or were they? Garth remembered recording as a pianist with a band behind another vocalist and he remembered making a couple of vocal tracks himself, but he didn't have any idea who Handy Jackson was.

Gaylord Garth was born in Marianna, Arkansas on December 8, 1924 into a farming community. He told Whiteis he picked cotton alongside M.T. Murphy, who later played guitar behind him many iconic blues singers and gained latter-day fame through the Blues Brothers movie. In his teens Garth fooled around with the guitar and some home-made instruments and then he learned to play piano while he was in the Navy in the mid-1940s. His musical interest focused on Count Basie, Pete Johnson, Joe Turner, and Jimmy Rushing, ''not that gutbucket'' blues, he said. He remember coming to Memphis when he left the Navy, hanging out and playing with various groups: ''I started music in 1949 after I got out of the Navy the first time. I had got so I could carry the piano beat. I played C, G, and F, the keys I could play in''. He was playing with saxophonist Willie Wilkes at a club in Marianna when B.B. King heard him play and apparently decided to add Garth to his emerging group. ''I stayed with him a long time. I had joined the Naval (Reserve) and when the war started back up with Korea they called me back in the Navy, that was 1951''.

Garth felt that he made his first recordings at Phillips' studio before he went back into the Navy, but he also said of recording, ''I didn't know nothing about that stuff. I was dumb to the facts. I'd just gotten out of the Navy''. That would place the session in late 1952 or January 1953 rather than 1950 or 1951. Whatever the date, Garth was then pianist in a band with Willie Wilkes and he described the day, ''They didn't tell me we was going to a session. I hadn't rehearsed nothing. We were just going to back up someone, someone who wasn't a regular member of the band''. Then, he was asked to sing by a man he remembered as Billy Shaw of the New York booking agency, ''just looking for the country style blues... (Shaw) said, 'we want to hear you' but I didn't have no material''. As Shaw booked Rosco Gordon, it is at least possible that he was in Sam Phillips' studio the day Garth was there. Garth said one of the songs he sang was made up during the session, a song he called ''Screamin''. Sam Phillips noted that he had got ''2 number on 16 inch e.t. ''Got My Application'' and ''Screamin' And Cryin'''. When Phillips issued ''Application'' at the end of January 1953 it was backed not by ''Sreamin''' but by Jackson's ''Trouble'', and possibly this was the unremembered song and singer Garth had been asked to back up on piano at the session? Garth felt that the other musicians on the session were Wilkes on tenor sax, Richard Williams on alto sax, Robert Carter on guitar and William Cooper on drums.

Sometime in 1953 Garth moved to Gary, Indiana, but returned briefly to Memphis before moving to Chicago to find work. He worked in a hospital kitchen and then a Ford dealership ''loadin' up trucks and all that'' where he stayed until he retired. During the late 1950s and 1960s he led a small band in which he sang and played electric piano. The band, the Gay-Tones, included saxophonist Ernest Cotton from Memphis who had recorded with Eddie Boyd and Memphis Slim and made a disc in his own name on Chicago's JOB label. From the late 1960s onwards, Garth gave up his group and just sat in as a guest musician, often on harmonica, and guest singer. He was also in some demand to perform his trademark belly rolls, guaranteed to cause a stir among the ladies. In 2004 at a Chicago area club, Lee's Unleaded, David Whiteis was still able to witness Garth and ''his impishly lascivious stage act, primal harp squalls, and still potent baritone holler''. All these activities came to a halt on September 13, 2010 when Garth died in his adopted city of Chicago.

JANUARY 14, 1953 WEDNESDAY

Roy Rogers is the surprise subject of NBC-TV's ''This Is Your Life''. During the show, he's persuaded to sing ''Tumbling Tumbleweeds' with The Sons Of The Pioneers.

JANUARY 15, 1953 THURSDAY

''Winning Of The West'' debuts in movie theaters with a musical collaboration of future Country Music Hall of Famers, as Gene Autry songs written by Fred Rose and Cindy Walker. Seen on the screen, Smiley Burnette and Frankie Marvis

Columbia released George Morgan's ''(I Just Had A Date0 Lover's Quarrel''.

JANUARY 16, 1953 FRIDAY

Bill Monroe suffers 19 broken bones in a head-on collision in Highway 31 near White House, Tennessee. He still manages to get out of the car and pull another passenger, Bessie Lee Mauldin, out of the other side. Monroe is unable to tour until May.

JANUARY 17, 1953 SATURDAY

Less than two weeks after Hank Williams was interred at the Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama, his coffin is dug up and moved to a new site.

JANUARY 18, 1953 SUNDAY

Jim Reeves recorded his first single, ''Mexican Joe'' at the KWKH Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana.

JANUARY 19, 1953 MONDAY

Marty Robbins becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry, the same day he moves to Nashville from Arizona.

The Memphis draft board added Elvis Presley's name to the bottom of it's list on January 19, 1952. Eleven days after his 18th birthday, Presley, then in his last year of Humes High School in Memphis, fulfilled his legal requirement to register for selective service. It's doubtful that the action concerned Elvis much at the time, as he knew there were thousands of names on the draft board's register that would be called before his.

The double-sided card stock "Selective Service" number is 40-86-35-16 and was signed by Elvis Presley and Crace F. Martony in blue ink. Card issued to Elvis Aron Presley at 698 Saffarans in Memphis, Tennessee. Lists birthdate of Jan. 8, 1935 and birthplace of Tupelo, Miss. Back of the card lists personal information: brown hair, green eyes, height of 5"11" and weight of 150. Selective Service number ''40-86-35-16''. The card is 2 1/2x3 3.4 inches.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated as the United States president during January of 1953. Republican Eisenhower and his running mate Richard Nixon defeated Democrat Adlai Stevenson with a total of 442 electoral votes to 89 and a popular vote of 55.2 percent to 44.3 percent. Eisenhower had previously been known for his service as a five-star general during World War II, eventually becoming the Supreme Allied Commander. He also acted as a Chief of Staff for the Army under President Truman, the governor of U.S. occupied Germany after WWII, the president of Columbia University and the Supreme Commander of NATO forces. During his two-term presidency he was credited with creating the U.S. highway system, strengthening Social Security, easing tensions with the U.S.S.R., creating NASA, helping to fully desegregate the Armed Forces, and signing some of the first modern civil rights laws.

Dorothy Shay, the Park Avenue Hillbilly, performs at one of Dwight Eisenhower's inaugural balls in Washington, D.C. Sid Caesar, Fred Waring and Abbott and Costello also perform for an audience that includes vice president Richard Nixon.

JANUARY 20, 1953 TUESDAY

Coral released Tommy Sosebee's only country hit, ''Till I Waltz Again With You''.

JANUARY 21, 1953 WEDNESDAY

Sam Phillips had barely had time to settle into the new house at 1028 McEvers Circle in Memphis. It was the first house he had ever owned, purchased for a little more than $10,000, with $2,000 he had been able to set aside from his Chess Records hits serving as the down payment. It was a modest gabled bungalow with a small front porch and an attached garage in a postwar Levittown-like development out by Kennedy veterans' hospital, the same neighborhood in which he and Becky had lived when they first moved to Memphis and boarded briefly in that nice lady from Sheffield's home. There were just two bedrooms and a single bathroom at the end of the hall, and it sat on a corner lot, giving them a nice yard, but for Becky it would not have mattered if it had been more modest by far. It was their first real home.

JANUARY 24, 1953 SATURDAY

Carl Perkins married Valda Crider from Corinth, Mississippi. They moved to a government housing project in Jackson, Tennessee as the children started appearing. However, Valda encouraged Carl to work on his music and try for a career in entertainment. Her support has nourished Perkins though a long career as a musician and through many bouts with the bottle and self doubt. In fact, it was Val who heard a record on the radio that would alter the course of Perkins' career.

Just weeks after his death, Hank Williams hits number 1 with the prophetic ''I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive''.

JANUARY 26, 1953 MONDAY

Lucinda Williams is born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Her laidback snapshots of Southern life make her a significant figure in the alternate country movement. She also writes Mary Chapin Carpenter's mainstream-country hit ''Passionate Kisses''.

Joe and Rose Lee Maphis sign with Columbia Records.

JANUARY 27, 1953 TUESDAY

Keyboard player Lee Carroll is born in Glasgow, Kentucky. Carrol replaces Marlon Hargis in Exile in 1985, contributing to such hits as ''It'll Be Me'', ''She's Too Good To Be True'' and ''I Can't Get Close Enough''.

Hank Thompson recorded a version of Bill Carlisle's ''No Help Wanted'' at radio station WKY in Oklahoma City.

Singwriter Tom Douglas is born in Atlanta, Georgia. He authors such hits as Lady Antebellum's ''I Run To You'', Tim McGraw's ''Southern Voice'' and Miranda Lambert's ''The House That Built Me''.

JANUARY 29, 1953 THURSDAY

Drummer Louie Perez is born in East Los Angeles. He joins Los Lobos and co-writes ''Will The Worlf Survive'', a country hit for Waylon Jennings in 1986.

JANUARY 30, 1953 FRIDAY

Less than a month after his death, MGM released Hank Williams' ''Your Cheatin' Heart'' and ''Kaw-Liga''.

After Sun Records is re-launched three singles were released on this day, just two weeks after the partnership with Jim Bulleit had informally commenced. Despite Sam Phillips' strong feeling about it, the Handy Jackson (Sun 177) passed almost unnoticed, by both the marketplace and posterity. The two that accompanied it, however, Joe Hill Louis' ''She May Be Yours (But She Comes To See Me Sometimes) (Sun 178) and Willie Nix, The Memphis Blues Boy's ''Seems Like A Million Years'' (Sun 179) were everything that Sam Phillips had ever promised himself he would deliver.

The Joe Hill Louis record was not dissimilar to other Joe Hill Louis sides, reflecting both his singular strengths and his endearing weaknesses. It was the product of two sessions, November 17, 1952 and December 8, 1952, in which Louis' guitar and harmonica took the lead, but Willie Nix's drums on ''She May Be Yours'', and Albert Williams' piano on both sides, provided a rhythmic solidarity that Joe could not always summon in his more commonplace one-man-band setting. Both sides showcased the unique joie de vivre of Sam Phillips' first discovery (actually, as Sam himself would have pointed out, Joe Hill Louis was a clear case of the artist discovering him), but it was the A-side, ''She May Be Yours'', a medium-tempo boogie with a heavy beat, squalling harmonica solos, and the rough vocal bleeding purposefully through the harmonica mike, that revealed the way in which even when much of what Joe sang was taken from traditional sources, it reflected, Sam said, something ''very personal to him''

The Willie Nix numbers were even more distinctive, as befitted a proud free spirit referred to by one fellow bluesman as ''a little aviatic''. The single was the product of an October 2, 8, 9, 1952 session which Sam had originally submitted to Chess and presented the same quartet format as the Joe Hill Louis , only this time requiring two musicians (Nix's versatile guitarist, Joe Willie Wilkins, and seventeen-year-old harmonica player James Cotton, another West Memphis regular, who had already recorded for Sam Phillips with Howlin' Wolf to fill in for Louis' guitar-harmonica combination.

THE PERKINS BROTHERS BAND - There can be little doubt that Carl's older brother Jay and his younger brother Clayton would never have thought of a career in music had it not been for constant badgering from Carl. He wanted a backup group, and his two brothers were the prime candidates. The choice of venues available to the brothers was limited, virtually confined to church socials and honky-tonks, the Perkins Brothers Band gravitated naturally toward the latter.

Jay Perkins handled some of the vocals, singing in a rough-hewn voice modeled on Ernest Tubb's. But it was Carl who was both principal vocalist and lead guitarist. By 1954 their repertoire included a fair of sampling of hillbilly standards: ''Always Late (With Your Kisses'', Jealous Heart'', ''Honky Tonk Blues'', and the inevitable ''Lovesick Blues''; there was also a little pop music, in the shape of ''I'll Walk Alone'', and a pointer toward the future ''Carl's Boogie''. Thousands of bands in similar dives across the the mid-South were playing an identical repertoire. From among their number, the Perkins Brothers Band found themselves at the top of the pop charts two of years later.

The reason revolves around Perkins himself and the nature of his music. By 954 he had evolved a unique style, not pure honky-tonk music but a hybrid that borrowed much in terms of feeling, phrasing, and rhythm from black music. ''I just speeded up some of the slow blues licks'', said Carl. ''I put a little speed and rhythm to what Uncle John had slowed down. That's all. That's what rockabilly music or rock and roll was to began with: a country with a black man's rhythm. Someone once said that everything's been done before - and it has. It's just a question of figuring out a good mixture of it to sound original''.

The honky-tonks were also a good glace to experiment Mistakes would go unnoticed, and by listening to the audience Perkins could determine the type of music that went over best. One of his first moves was to bring in a drummer. Drums, of course, were forbidden on the Grand Ole Opry, but Perkins decided that he needed them to reinforce the rhythm and keep it danceable. His first drummer, Tony Austin, lasted no more than a few gigs in 1953. He was replaced by W S. ''Fluke'' Holland, originally from Saltillo, Mississippi, who had gone to school in Jackson with Clayton Perkins. Not only did he show real promise, he was able to buy a set of Brecht drums and - just as important - a reliable automobile for the group. Holland frequented many of the black nightclubs in town because, as a drummer working in country music, he had few role models.

With a steady backbeat maintained by the bass and drums, Perkins would accentuate the rhythm by hitting the bass strings of his electric guitar while he sang. He also developed the technique of singing and playing fills around his vocal, in the manner of a blues singer. Like most singers, Perkins was looking for a compatible lead guitarist who would complement his work with tasty fills, and he found the most compatible lead guitarist of all in himself. He would use the little runs on the guitar as extensions of his vocal lines, working a dialogue with himself, scatting a line and then completing it with a lick on the guitar. His finesse was probably wasted upon most of his clientele, but Perkins evidently did not care. He worked hard on his music, for he saw in it a deliverance from an otherwise bleak future as a barely educated country boy trying to scratch out a living in Jackson.

Between 1953 and 1955 most of Perkins' income came from working at the Colonial Bakery in Jackson. The honky-tonks paid only two or three dollars a night, but they enabled the Perkins brothers to practice their music and cultivate their drinking habits at minimal cost. ''I would mix beer with whiskey'', wrote Perkins in his autobiography (published by an evangelical publishing house), ''and, with soul on fire, I'd stand on the table tops striving for the attention I thought my music deserved. The booze was free at most of the places I played at and it eased the pressure. My intentions seemed good. I wanted to try and help the drunks, give them some happiness, maybe a little hope. But I was in the Devil's playground and it wasn't long before some old boy would shout, 'Gíve that Carl another drink and he'll really pick and sing'''.

JANUARY 31, 1953 SATURDAY

New single of Rosco Gordon ''Just In From Texas'' b/w ''I'm In Love'' (RPM 379) released.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

> Page Up < 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©