Little Junior Parker breaks his contract with Sun Records, and joins Duke. Sun launches
a suit against Duke, which comes to trial in 1955 and is settled in favour of Sun. Meanwhile, Don Robey also signs Phineas Newborn Jr. to Duke.
Sam Phillips had to go
Houston for a hearing requesting a preliminary injunction to prohibit Duke from putting out any more records of Junior Parker. Sam had thought he had the thing worked out. Little Junior had assured him that it was all a misunderstanding and they had even scheduled
a recording session for the beginning of March. But then Don Robey had somehow gotten in the middle again, or maybe Little Junior was just bullshitting him, which he found difficult to believe, but in any case he drove to Houston on April 6 to put his case
before a judge. The hearing was scheduled for federal district court, under the jurisdiction of Judge Ben C. Connally, but Connally, the son of Texas' recently retired senior senator Tom Connally, was on vacation, and the judge who was brought in, an octogenarian
who seemed altogether unacquainted with the recording business, refused to issue a temporary stay, especially after Little Junior testified for the defense. Meaning that for all practical purpose Robey had won, even if Sam Phillips continued to pursue justice,
as he vowed he would do until hell froze over.
By April 1954, a year further on, Billboard had decided that "Answers (Are) Not The Answer. The year 1953 saw an important
precedent set in regard to answer tunes. Since the "Hound Dog" decision, few diskeries have attempted to answer smash hits by other companies by using the same tune with different lyrics". They might have stopped to think about Rufus Thomas's own follow up
disc. "Tiger Man", where he attempted to plagiarise his own hit, "Bear Cat". He had moved on in the feline world, or rather, his session guitarist, Joe Hill Louis, had, during his attention to the king of the jungle.
Roy Orbison see Elvis Presley perform at Dallas Sportatorium, Dallas, Texas.
APRIL 1, 1954 THURSDAY
Drummer Joe Porcaro has a son, Jeff Porcaro, in Hartford, Connecticut. Two years after dad plays
on the Glen Campbell hit, ''Southern Nights'', Jeff, who is also a drummer debuts as a member of the rock band Toto.
APRIL 5, 1954 MONDAY
Under the assumed name Simon Crym, Ferlin Huskey recorded ''Cuzz Yore So Sweet''.
APRIL 6, 1954 TUESDAY
Dottsy is born in Seguin, Texas. She sings on the Grand Ole Opry as a child, then nets one bona fide hit, ''(After Sweet Memories) Play Born To Lose Again'', in 1977 before leaving the music
business to work with mentally handicapped children.
APRIL 8, 1954 THURSDAY
Hamblen recorded ''This Ole House'' in New York City.
APRIL 12, 1954 MONDAY
released Red Foley's ''Jilted''.
Sam Phillips had long been fascinating with echo. For his first Sun release, on sixteen-tear-old Johnny London, in 1952, he had constructed
a special ''echo chamber'', a tetephone-booth-like box, and he had experimented with the technique off and on over the last couple of years. But he had never achieved the result he wanted, to his ears, placing the vocalist or lead instrumentalist in a box,
or placing a speaker in a resonant hallway or bathroom, as many engineers did, created too cavernous an effect. Phillips knew, of course, that it was all ''artificial''. But what he was looking for was the richness and fullness and naturalness with which the
human ear could be tricked into thinking it was actually hearing sound without artifice. People were used to listening to music in honky-tonks and bars. He didn't want to stun them with too clean an overall impression, he wanted it to sound more familiar but
different at the same time. What he was really aiming for was ''just a little bit of beautiful clutter''. What he came up with was a technique for creating a slightly less controlled version of the delayed, or repeat, echo that had become a hallmark of Les
It was an idea, obviously, that was in the air. A self-taught electronics tinkerer, accordion player, and home inventor named Ray Butts in Cairo, Illinois,
had already come up with a similar concept for electric guitar when he put together an amp that he called the EchoSonic, with a ''3rd Dimension Tone'', in 1952. To get the ''multiple-sound echo effects'' that, he advertised, ''you have always wanted'', he
placed a tape inside the amplifier that operated in a continuous loop, as it chased after the live sound with just enough of a delay to suggest the depth and richness that Bill Putnam and Les Paul had created with their studio recordings. Chet Atkins, a great
admirer of Les Paul and open to all sorts of musical experimentation himself, bought one of the first EchoSonic, and the sound was heavily featured in his playing on the David Sisters' ''Rock-A-Bye-Boogie'', which was popular in the fall of 1953. But the first
inkling that Sam Phillips had of just how he might achieve the same effect in his own tiny studio occurred when he got his first Ampex 350 tape recorder at the beginning of 1954.
came in the midst of a general upgrading of equipment that flew in the face of every financial exigency screaming out at him for attention every day. As Marion Keisker observed, Sam Phillips might scrimp on everything else, in fact, he could even make a virtue
out of it, but he would never skimp on the recording equipment. And while he was more than happy with his fifteen-year-old converted RCA radio console, from the time the Ampex 350 came on the market the previous summer, with its state-of-the-art technology,
Sam Phillips just knew it was something he had to have.
It was while playing around with the Ampex that Sam first got the idea for ''slapback''. It suddenly occurred
to him that in the time it took the tape to move across the three heads of the machine, from record to erase to playback, ''that would give me a very slight delay, and if, I turned it on playback and fed it back into the board, I would have a controllable
sound'', Sam said. The trouble was, Sam would be slathering that sound, whether it was close together at fifteen inches per second or more spread out at seven and one-half, on every element of the recording, thereby restricting the dramatic effect he wanted
to achieve. The only solution was to acquire a second Ampex 350, which he did with supreme financial disregard. Sam mounted the second tape recorder on a rack behind him to his right and designated it as his ''slap'' machine, applying it to Billy ''The Kid''
Emerson's and Doug Poindexter's vocals, and Raymond Hill's saxophone, on the three records Sam recorded between April 12 and April 25.