CONTAINS
For music (standard singles) and playlists on YouTube click on the available > buttons <
> Back 1956 Sun Schedule <

1956 SESSIONS 4
April 1, 1956 to April 30, 1956

Studio Session for Onie Wheeler, April 1, 1956 / Columbia Records
Studio Session for Charlie Feathers, April 1, 1956 / Meteor Records
Studio Session for Jean Chapel, April 1956 / RCA Victor/Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Riley, April 1956 / Fernwood Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, April 2, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jack Earls, April 14, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Barbara Pittman, Probably April 15, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Barbara Pittman, April 15, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Glenn Honeycutt, April 15, 1956 / Sun Records

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 1956

Johnny Cash started composing rock and roll songs. One of these, "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby" was pitched to a newcomer at Sun, Warren Smith, in March 1956. Cash's breathless demo shows how painfully ill-at-ease he was with anything brisker than a medium tempo. (Warren Smith would later contend that George Jones had told him that Johnny Cash had bought "Rock And Roll Ruby" off Jones for forty dollars. If that is the case, however, it would appear that Cash amended the lyrics, for they bear the imprint of his writing style). Cash also pitched another rock and roll song called "Little Woolly Booger (You're My Baby)" to Roy Orbison, an effort he would later call "the worst thing I ever conceived". In the demo, again, Cash continually trips over himself in an inept attempt at acute need to pander to the nascent rock market. He had written a very adult song that would cross over effortless and wholly without contrivance into the pop charts.

APRIL 1956

"Blue Suede Shoes" finally tops most charts. Although it spends almost five months on Billboard's country and pop charts, it is excluded from the number 1 position by "Heartbreak Hotel." By early May both Perkins and Sun Records have logged their first million-seller.

APRIL 1956

"Bad Girl" b/w ''Gonna Romp And Stomp'' (Sun 238) by Slim Rhodes and Sun 239 "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby" b/w ''I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry'' by Warren Smith are issued. But when the single came out, Warren Smith reneged on the deal, and the royalties for the record's remarkable sale of seventy thousand copies in the first three months all went to him. Which was one reason that Warren Smith, an intense, not infrequently moody young man who Sam thought had unlimited potential in the country field, was not particularly popular with his fellow musicians. ''He was the kind of character that needed to be loved a lot'', said Sam Phillips. ''But a lot of people didn't like him, he perceived that they didn't, and it was his fault in most cases''.

Billboard of May 12 reports the formation of the Stars Incorporated booking agency in Memphis by Sam Phillips and Bob Neal. Sam describes Warren Smith as "The third entrant in the sweeptakes after Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins". Warren's "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby" enters the Memphis chart at this time, and makes number 1 by May 26.

"I Walk The Line" b/w ''Get Rhythm'' (Sun 241) by Johnny Cash is released.

Claunch and Cantrell are working with Lendon Smith for Meteor Records on "Women" (Meteor 5030).

Carl Perkins finally makes his delayed appearance on the Perry Como TV show on May 26. "Blue Suede Shoes" peaks on the National Honor Roll of Hits at number 4.

Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings hit the road as part of package shows assembled by Bob Neal. "We played all these unbelievable little town", recalled Orbison to Booth. "We were trying to make stage shows out of one hit record - which is very difficult - so we jumped around on stage like a bunch of idiots". By that point, Roy Orbison had developed a fascination for studio work. He moved to Memphis, played sessions at Sun Records and performed on commercials and radio spots that Sam Phillips continued to engineer just in case the rock and roll craze blew over.

APRIL 1956

The very first half-hour television serial (soap opera) "As The World Turns" premiered on CBS during April of 1956. It was unusual as most serials had only been 15 minutes in length up until that point. The public reception of the show was initially tepid but it soon became quite popular and was one of the highest rated shows on television. "As The World Turns" had featured several now well-known actors during its fifty plus year run including Meg Ryan, Amanda Seyfried, Matthew Morrison, and Jordana Brewster. The show was set in fictional Oakdale, Illinois and plot lines focused on the lives of the town's residents. It was notable in that it had a much slower pace than other serial soap operas of the time, choosing to highlight gradual character development rather than over the top drama. It won several Emmy Awards throughout its run. In 2010 the show was cancelled by CBS due to low ratings.

Thirty-one year old Rocky Marciano retires from the sport of professional boxing during April of 1956 as the only champion with a perfect record, having won all 49 of his professional career match-ups. Marciano began his boxing career after leaving the U.S. Army at the end of World War II. He had his first professional match in 1947 against Lee Epperson. In 1952 he won the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World after defeating Joe Walcott. After winning the title, he successfully defended his crown five other times before his retirement. Of his 49 total matches, he won 43 of them with a knockout. Marciano was later killed in a plane crash at the age of forty-five during 1969.

APRIL 1, 1956 SUNDAY

Elvis has a screen test with producer Hal Wallis of Paramount Pictures. The result being he is signed to three year contract.

Studio session for Charlie Feathers at Meteor Record in Memphis, Tennessee.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

In early 1955 future Sun recording artist Onie Wheeler got his first taste of the new wave in country music when he was booked on tour with Elvis Presley. As far back as 1952, Onie had been managed by Charlie Terrell who also operated trucking companies from his base in Sikeston. Bob Neal, then managing Elvis Presley, contracted Terrell and placed Onie Wheeler on tours in the Spring of 1955 booked through Colonel Tom Parker and Hank Snow's Jamboree Attractions.

Neal also assumed Onie's management for a while. Onie Wheeler left his band, the Nelson brothers back in Sikeston area. After he returned, they picked up where they had left off with no hard feelings on anyone's part. In fact, the Nelsons were glad to see him back; their attendances were dropping off without him. Once again, Charlie Terrell took over as Onie's manager.

In August 1955, Columbia Records picked up their option on Sun future recording artist, Onie Wheeler's contract, renewing it at three percent. Onie returned to the studio next year in April 1956, with rock and roll looming large in his thoughts. ''Onie's Bop'' was one of the more successful attempts by an established country artist to render his version of the new music, if for no other reason than he made light of it. It had been written while Onie was driving for Charlie Terrell, and, according to Terrell, it was the biggest-selling record of Onie's career to that point. They lined up a television appearance on the Ozark Jubilee when Onie had to censor the line: ''that's when I flub my dub''.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ONIE WHEELER
FOR COLUMBIA RECORDS 1956

MUSIC CITY RECORDERS
804 16TH AVENUE SOUTH, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
COLUMBIA SESSION: SUNDAY APRIL 1, 1956
SESSION HOURS: 14:00-17:00
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – DON LAW

01 – ''I WANNA HOLD MY BABY'' – B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Jean Wheeler
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : OB 1101 / CO 55835
Recorded: - April 1, 1956
Released: - 1956
First appearance: - Columbia Records (S) 78rpm standard single Columbia 21523-3 mono
I WANNA HOLD MY BABY / ONIE'S BOP
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-4 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

01 – ''ONIE'S BOP'' – B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Onie Wheeler
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : OB 1102 / CO 55836
Recorded: - April 1, 1956
Released: - 1956
First appearance: - Columbia Records (S) 78rpm standard single Columbia 21523-4 mono
ONIE'S BOP / I WANNA HOLD MY BABY
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-4 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Onie Wheeler – Vocal, Harmonica, Guitar
Thomas Grady Martin – Guitar & Fiddle
Ray Edenton – Guitar
Bob Foster – Steel Guitar
Ernest ''Ernie'' Newman – Bass
Murray M. ''Buddy'' Harmon - Drums

For Biography of Onie Wheeler see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Quinton Claunch, who played guitar on a Charlie Feathers' Sun session of ''Corrine, Corrina'' said: ''Charlie had a great voice and was talented, but he was self-centred and he didn't trust anybody. He could feel a song as well, but putting up with him was something else''. Jody Chastain (bass), Jerry Huffman (guitar), and Jimmy Swords (brother of Haward) worked with Feathers then and felt the same. ''While we were waiting for Sam to make up his mind on ''Corrina'', said Huffman, ''Charlie couldn't bear it. Les Bihari at Meteor was after him, saying he would put out a disc right now.

On April 1, 1956 Feathers persuaded his band to go Meteor and re-recorded ''Corrina'' note-for-note, but with new words and title, ''Get With It''. The record came out on April 12, 1956.

Chastain and Huffman wrote ''Tongue-Tied Jill'' for release on Sun Records, but as Feathers recalled: ''We made a demo of it and took it to Sam but he thought the song was mocking afflicted people. Lester Bihari asked me if he could issue the song, so I said 'Why not?'. After Sam didn't like it thought it might not be very good, but the Meteor disc broke real good here in Memphis''.

The record had at least three pressings on 45 and one on 78, and sold well enough for the local distributor of Cincinnati-based King Records to take notice. Feathers lined up a recording deal for July 1956 with King. His disc with Meteor was a one-off deal, and he had not signed any contract. A few months later Lester wrote in a letter, ''King got Charlie Feathers – I don't mind though, we are still pushing ''Tongue-Tied Jill'' more than ever''. Lester made a real attempt to keep Feathers on the label. He set up a string of promotional appearances and used fellow-singer Wayne McGinnis to help. He recalled; ''We would make road tours visiting radio stations and sometimes carry Charlie and other Meteor artists to disc jockeys. One day we stopped at a radio station in Carruthersville, Missouri, and the first thing they guy wanted to know was, ''did you bring any copies of Charlie Feathers singing ''Tongue-Tied Jill''?. It was a big record locally at that time.

Wayne McGinnis also remembers the recording session. ''It was in the Meteor studio, about the middle of the day and into the afternoon. Charlie was drinking a milkshake, he loved chocolate milkshake all the time, and singing his heart out. He was a great artist who everybody respected for his talent in those days''.

Lester Bihari's take on all this 25 years later, talking to Jim O'Neil, was: ''Charlie Feathers came in and his ''Tongue-Tied Jill'' could' a been a big number. I says to him, 'You've always vied to be like Elvis, and you can sing'. He could, he sing right with him. Charlie would come to my place and we'd get ready to sign a contract and he'd go down and get himself a malted. And I got so I couldn't do anything with him, you know, a really illiterate boy, just poor white trash to the ninth degree. Couldn't read, couldn't sign his name or anything. When he wouldn't sign a contract, he didn't get any royalty, he didn't get nuthin'. I said, 'I'll tell you, Charlie, we're going to make you the biggest artist in Shelby County, period! And that's as far as we walked''.

Feathers went on to record for a string of small labels and one major, Elektra. His career contained some wonderful records, offset by some duds, and he earned himself a rightful place in Memphis music history, offset by his vision of himself as the insufficiently recognised founder of rockabilly music. Charlie Feathers born on June 12, 1932 at Slayden near Holly Springs, Mississippi, he died of a stroke on August 29, 1998 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR CHARLIE FEATHERS
FOR METEOR RECORDS 1956

METEOR RECORDING STUDIO
1794 CHELSEA AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
METEOR SESSION: SUNDAY APRIL 1, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – QUINTON CLAUNCH

01 – ''GET WITH IT'' – B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Jody Chastain-Jerry Huffman
Publisher: - Meteor Publishing - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - MR 5030
Recorded: - April 1, 1956
Released: - April 12, 1956
First appearance: - Meteor Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Meteor 5032 A mono
GET WITH IT / TONGUE-TIED JILL
Reissued: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCH2 885-2-1 mono
THE COMPLETE METEOR ROCKABILLY & HILLBILLY RECORDINGS

The essence of rockabilly music is right here: the link between country music and rock and roll. Charlie Feathers did not invent it, as he sometimes claimed, or bring it to the world's attention, like Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, but he sure could play it. He felt it, ''You pick the tune, you slap the bass, I'll play the rhythm... we got to get with it, got no time to waste''.

02 – ''TONGUE-TIED JILL'' – B.M.I. - 1:56
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Jody Chastain-Jerry Huffman
Publisher: - Meteor Publishing - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - MR 5031
Recorded: - April 1, 1956
Released: - April 12, 1956
First appearance: - Meteor Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Meteor 5032 B mono
TONGUE-TIED JILL / GET WITH IT
Reissued: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCH2 885-2-2 mono
THE COMPLETE METEOR ROCKABILLY & HILLBILLY RECORDINGS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Feathers – Vocal & Guitar
Jody Chastain – Steel Guitar
Jerry Huffman – Guitar
Jimmy Swords - Drums
Shorty Torrence - Bass

For Biography of Charlie Feathers see: > The Sun Biographies <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

It was rare for Sam Phillips to commission outside masters, largely because he'd long been in the business of leasing tapes of his own. In a complexity of issues, "Welcome To The Club" by Jean Chapel (born Opal Amburgey in Neon, Kentucky) was submitted to Sun courtesy of the enterprising Murray Nash, a one-time song-plugger who ran a publishing company in Nashville. Spurred on by the meteoric elevation of Elvis Presley, RCA Victor then sublicensed the track in the fall of 1956.

There's still some mystery surrounding these sides by Jean Chapel, whose list of aliases would fill. Sun collectors have tried to like this record over the years. Many have concluded that is just doesn't sound like a Sun record, and with good reason - it isn't. It was produced by Chapel's manager, veteran country Artist and Repertoire man, Murray Nash, who had worked for RCA, Mercury, and Hickory before striking out on his own.

STUDIO SESSION FOR JEAN CHAPEL
FOR RCA VICTOR AND SUN RECORDS 1956

MUSIC CITY RECORDING
804 16TH AVENUE SOUTH, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
RCA SESSION: APRIL 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - MURRAY NASH

01(1) - "WELCOME TO THE CLUB" - B.M.I. - 1:52
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1023-11 mono
ROCK AND ROLL PILS

01(2) - "WELCOME TO THE CLUB" - B.M.I. - 1:52
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 196 SUN - G2WW-7278 RCA - Master
Recorded: - April 1956 
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 244-A < mono
WELCOME TO THE CLUB / I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT
October 1956 RCA Victor (S) 45rpm 47-6681 mono
WELCOME TO THE CLUB / I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-7 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

He produced these sides in Nashville, and sold them to Sun in April or May 1956. Then, in a bizarre twist, the record re-emerged on RCA Victor in October. In between, Ms. Chapel appeared at the Apollo, and was holding down a club job in Montreal when the record was switched. Nash hyped her to press as the Female Elvis Presley. That RCA Victor would pick up this record was odd because it already had Charline Arthur's recording of "Welcome To The Club" on the shelves.

Its a record that sits uncomfortably with other Sun records from mid-1956. To stretch a pun, it doesn't really belong in the club. There is some truth to Billboard's claim that "Classification may be difficult in Miss Chapel's case". It is also true that she owed as much of a debt to 1940s Hollywood as to 1950s Beale Street.

02 - "I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton-Tommy Durden
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 197 SUN - G2WW-7279 RCA - Master
Recorded: - April 1956 
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 244-B < mono
I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT / WELCOME TO THE CLUB
October 1956 RCA Victor (S) 45rpm 47-6681 mono
I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT / WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-8 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jean Chapel - Vocal
Possible Grady Martin - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

For Biograpy of Jean Chapel see: > The Sun Biographies <
Jean Chapel's Sun recordings can be heard on her playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Having departed his native Arkansas, William Lee Riley put down roots in Memphis where he sang part-time with The Dixie Ramblers, a dyed-in-the-wool country combo whose guitarist Jack Clement and bass player Ronald "Slim" Wallace were about to launch their own Fernwood label in Memphis.

The plan was for the talented Billy Riley to become their inaugural signing but at the eleventh hour Jack Clement approached Sam Phillips, with the result that he and Riley both ended up at Sun Records.

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY RILEY
AT WMPS FOR FERNWOOD RECORDS 1956

WMPS RECORDING STUDIO
112 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
WMPS SESSION: APRIL 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - JACK CLEMENT
RECORDING ENGINEER - ROLAND "SLIM" WALLACE

''ROCK WITH ME BABY''

The top side of Riley's first Sun record, and a gem. This one comes pretty close to defining what rockabilly is all about It's tense, edgy, sexy and driving. This is not mindless, teen dance music. It can send shivers down your spine. There's not a wasted note here. The vocal is perfect. The band work is stellar, not overly complex, but perfectly orchestrated. When the guitar solos take off, you just have to stand back. Those beautiful singlestroke drum rolls by Johnny Bernero let you know when to take cover as the two guitars played by Ruble Shaw and Roland Janes, just soar. One slides into the chord while the second hits just the right notes to maintain that bluesy countryish feel. Some critics tell you that real rockabilly needs a stand-up bass, the kind Bill Black used to slap behind Elvis back in 1954. If that's true, then this record contains a double dose of rockabilly drive. One slap bass was played by Slim Wallace, the second by Jan Ledbetter.

''Rock With Me Baby'' was recorded at the studios of WMPS. Sadly, having explored every inch of Billy Riley recording tape known to exist at Sun, it seems thru second tide from this session - the countryish ''Think Before You Go'' - is irretrievably lost.

"Rock With Me Baby" is likewise a standout track, with its guitar interplay between Billy Riley and Roland Janes, and soaring drumwork during the solos. SUN 245 clearly promised that Billy Riley was capable of producing memorable work within the tense and impassioned style Sun Records was beginning to forge.

01(1) - "ROCK WITH ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 11 Master
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - May 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 245-B < mono
ROCK WITH ME BABY / TROUBLE BOUND
Reissued - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-10 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Three alternates and four false starts grace this session, giving you a sense of what this session was all about. If sequencing on the original tape reel is to be believed, alternates 2 and 3 were recorded after the released version. This leaves us to wonder why they didn't stop once they had nailed the version we've known and loved for so long. They kept on trying different approaches, including a noticeably slower tempo, and only made the final decision to go with Take 2 after the session was over.

01(2) - ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 0:29
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-1 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(3) - ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-2 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(4) - ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 0:14
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-3 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(5) - ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-4 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(6) – ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 0:16
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-5 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(7) – ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 0:15
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 4 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-6 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(8) – ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. – 2:15
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-7 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Acoustic Guitar
Roland Janes - Lead Guitar
Ruble Shaw - Guitar
Slim Wallace - Bass
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums

It is uncanny how close Riley, Janes, Wallace and Bernero came to the sound of Elvis Presley's Sun recordings. Of course, Bernero had played drums with Elvis Presley but the rest of the group matched the sound of Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black to a tee. In fact, Billy Riley remembers Elvis Presley telling Sam Phillips, "That boy sounds more like me than I do", after he heard "Trouble Bound" and "Rock With Me Baby".

Billy Riley had parlayed his songs into a Sun contract. Jack Clement had parlayed them into a full time job at Sun as an engineer and Roland Janes soon became the house guitarist. The casualty of this scenario - Fernwood Records - with into abeyance for a while. After several false starts, Slim Wallace eventually got it off the ground with the help of Scotty Moore in 1958.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Johnny Cash's third Sun single established him as a major country artist, capable of breaking through into the pop marketplace. As well, "I Walk The Line" became Sun's second major crossover hit in its last seven releases. There must have been a moment in mid-1956 when, after all his years of scuffling, Sam Phillips must have thought, "Hell, this is easy!".

Superficially, all he was doing was turning the country boys loose in his tiny studio and letting them do it on their own terms. Of course, there was a lot more to it than that. For one thing, Phillips had hand-picked these artists. For every Johnny Cash, there were ten others whose records weren't selling, and dozens whose efforts had not been recorded or released. In addition, Phillips created an ambience that allowed, even nurtured their creativity. Then, he had to select the best samples of their work for release. Phillips was, as he readily admits, a genius at all three stages.

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY CASH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY APRIL 2, 1956 / POSSIBLY ADDITIONAL DATE(S)
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

"I Walk The Line" was a beautiful adult 'pledge of love' and there is no doubt that it has become Cash's most famous song. To create the snare drum effect Cash put some paper between the strings of his guitar which, along with Luther's runs up and down the bass string, gave the song a hypnotic beat. The song needed no other embellishments as Sam Phillips pointed out years later, "Can you hear "I Walk The Line" with a steel guitar!". The alternate version is very close to the master with just a slight lyrical change. There were rumours that alternate takes existed of the song performed at different tempos. A study of the remaining tapes reveals that this was not the case.

01(1) - "I WALK THE LINE" - B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Released: - 1984
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) Sunbox 103-2 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517 EH-1-20 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

In an interview with Ed Salamon, Johnny Cash recounted the tortuos origins of this song: "While I was in the Air Force I had a Wilcox-Gay tape recorder. I was working the five-to-eleven shift one night, and I came in right after eleven and saw that someone had been fooling with my recorder, so I rewound it and punched the play button. Here was one of the strangest sounds I'd ever heard. At the beginning it sounded like a voice saying, 'Father'. It drove me crazy for about a year. I asked everybody I knew if they had fooled around with my tape recorder. I finally found who did it. He put the tape on upside down and backward. All he was doing was strumming chords on the guitar, and at the end he said, 'Turn it off', which sounds like 'Father' when its backward. I never got that chord progression out of my mind. It broke all the musical laws but I couldn't forget it. After I started touring, I was playing Gladewater, Texas, one night and Carl Perkins asked me, 'What are you doing? 'I was fooling around with those chords. He said, 'That's really different. Sam is always looking for something different. Why don't you write a song and use that progression?'. Then a little bit later on we got to talking about our wives and guys running around on the road and so forth. I had a brand new baby and I said, 'Not me, buddy. I walk the line'. Carl said, 'There's your song title'. I wrote it all that night in fifteen or twenty minutes".

"I Walk The Line" virtually defines minimalist production. There was no sparser arrangement on the pop or, for that matter, country charts in 1956. There is no telling how this song might have fared with the standard Nashville treatment. In an interview with Billboard, Phillips mused, "Can you hear 'I Walk The Line' with a steel guitar?". Its not a pretty picture.

The chord progression is not quite as revolutionary as Cash implies, but by reversing the usual country progression - starting on the unstable dominant chord instead of the rock-solid tonic that begins just about every country song - Cash also begins each verse with the pair of chords that normally ends a song. Not only had Cash found the 'something different' that Sam Phillips constantly sought, he also had found a way to build a larger framework for the song. After each verse the song moves to a new key, where it hangs tentatively until the next verse, opening with that closing pair of chords, clinches the new key with a feeling of sureness and inevitability.

What could more perfectly suit the lyrics' declaration of undying faithfulness. In the studio Johnny Cash set down a version of characteristic simplicity. His aggressive rhythm guitar (with paper woven between the strings to simulate the sound of brushes on a snare drum) backs up Luther Perkins' trademark solo runs on the bass strings.

Four bars of sustained humming signal each of the key changes, which gradually move Cash from his upper register, already forced even in his early years, down an octave to the bottom of his range (and then some - he can't quite make the low D near the end). Its an uncluttered, remarkably direct performance - compelling, hypnotic, and unlike any other country record that had ever been made. The addition of a chorus or any other instrument would have destroyed its magnetism. As Sam Phillips himself said years later, "Can you hear 'I Walk The Line' with a steel guitar?". Better than most, Phillips knew it was a rhetorical question.

Reaching the number 1 slot in the country charts and number 17 in the pop charts.

01(2) - "I WALK THE LINE" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 191 Master Take 2
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Released: - May 1, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 241-B < mono
I WALK THE LINE / GET RHYTHM
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-2 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

02 - "BRAKEMAN'S BLUES" - B.M.I. - 1:32
Composer: - Jimmie Rodgers
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - FS + Incomplete Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517 EH-1-21 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-1-14 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

"Brakeman's Blues" is an ideal song well suited to Cash's style but for some reason, following this short false start and incomplete take where it breaks down on the instrumental break, they did not continue to work on the track.

03(1) - "GET RHYTHM" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start & Complete Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-1-15 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

It has often been said that Johnny Cash wrote "Get Rhythm' with Elvis Presley in mind and although Elvis would have made a good job of the song it would have been a shame if Cash hadn't recorded his own version, as it is one of his greatest performances. It is one of the new songs where Cash starts a song vocally rather than Luther playing a lead-in.

We hear versions with the first two sounding very similar although there are subtle differences, mainly in the backing and there is a slight lyrical change with Cash singin "He stopped just once to wipe the sweat away" instead of "He stopped once to wipe the sweat away".

The Tennessee Two are barely audible on the next take with just Cash and his acoustic guitar up front on the recording. This is more than likely a microphone test ans was never intended for release. The final alternate take has a very energetic performance from Cash but is let down by Luther's guitar solo on which he appears to hesitate on some notes.

03(2) - "GET RHYTHM" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-1-16 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

03(3) - "GET RHYTHM" - B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 Practice Take To Test Miking On Cash
Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Released: - 1984
First appearance: Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 103-2 mono
THE SUN YEARS - JOHNNY CASH
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517 EH-1-22 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

03(4) - "GET RHYTHM" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 4 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-1-18 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

03(5) - "GET RHYTHM" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 5
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Released: - Sun Unissued

Its tracks like this that make Johnny Cash almost impossible to categorize. Part country, part rockabilly, part folk (as was the popular description of the day), the man in black encapsulated all of this and more in his quest to be different.

"Get Rhythm" was the third of his countless Sun singles, yet its appearance as a mere flipside, demonstrates the proliferation of quality material that was there for the choosing. Johnny would shortly be performing the song on Jackie Gleason's CBS TV show.

03(6) - "GET RHYTHM" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 190 Master Take 6
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Released: - May 1, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 241-A < mono
GET RHYTHM / I WALK THE LINE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-1 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal, Guitar
(paper woven between the strings to simulate the sound of
brushes on a snare drum, and possibly Washboard)
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant – Bass

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 2, 1956 MONDAY

Columbia released Ray Price's ''Crazy Arms'' with ''You Done Me Wrong''.

APRIL 3, 1956 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley guests on The Milton Berle Show" telecast by NBC-TV from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hancock which is docked at the San Diego Naval Station in San Diego. He sings ''Shake, Rattle And Roll'', ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and ''Heartbreak Hotel'', and Berle repeatedly calls him Elvin during a comedy sketch.

APRIL 4, 1956 WEDNESDAY

Eddy Arnold performs with the Nashville Symphony. It marks the first of many future symphony performances for Arnold.

APRIL 6, 1956 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley signs a three-picture deal with Paramount Pictures for $450,000.

Capitol Records opens its new Hollywood headquarters, the world's first round office building, at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Among the artists who recorded in the studio, Buck Owens, Glenn Campbell, Dwight Yoakam and Merle Haggard.

Wade Moore directs his fraternity singing group to victory in the University's Greek Week Sing Song: ''The Lambda Chi Alphas, directed by Wade Moore, sang ''Gaudeamus Agitur'' and ''Lambda Chi Rose Hymn''.

APRIL 7, 1956 SATURDAY

The Platters make their first national appearance, on CBS-TV's "Stage Show".

APRIL 9, 1956 MONDAY

Gene Vincent recorded a demo tape featuring three songs. The tape lands him a recording deal with Capitol Records, for whom he re-recorded one of the demo's songs, ''Be-Bop-A-Lula'', less than a month later.

APRIL 10, 1956 TUESDAY

Producer Sam Phillips convinces Carl Perkins to drives him to Southern Motors Cadillac in Memphis, where Perkins receives a new Caddy marking Sun Records' first million-seller, ''Blue Suede Shoes''. Phillips deducts the cost from Perkins' royalties.

A dozen years, after he appeared on the country charts, Nat ''King'' Cole is attacked on stage in Birmingham by six members of the White Citizens Council. Despite back injuries, Cole finished the show but vows never to play the South again.

APRIL 11, 1956 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley's ''Heartbreak Hotel'' gets to number one in the US record charts and stays there for the next eight weeks.

Elvis Presley recorded with The Jordanaires for the first time, after a flight in which his plane developed engine trouble. They do only one song, ''I Want You, I Need You, I Love You'', in the Nashville session.

Jim Reeves recorded ''My Lips Are Sealed'' in the evening at RCA Studios on McGavock Street in Nashville.

APRIL 12, 1956 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley plays two shows at the Armory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the bill with Faron Young. Attended is a local guitar player, Glenn Campbell.

APRIL 13, 1956 FRIDAY

Already married, Patsy Cline meets Charlie Dick for the first time. He later becomes her second husband.

Elvis Presley begins four shows spread over three days at San Antonio's Municipal Auditorium. Attending one of the shows; future Texas Tornado Doug Sahm. Guitarist Scotty Moore says the dates mark the first time that the band cannot hear itself.

The Los Angeles Times reports Spade Cooley has suffered a minor hear attack. He's expected to be back on KTLA-TV for ''The Spade Cooley Show'' the following evening.

APRIL 13, 1956 FRIDAY

As the Sun label rose to public acclaim, bringing the big beat to teen-agers everywhere, Phillips and disc jockey and record shop owner Bob Neal (who had managed Presley before Parker stepped in) created Stars Incorporated, an artist booking and management agency. "We went on a short tour with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Warren Smith and Roy Orbison'', said Jake Earls, ''But there wasn't no money in it. I had a family to take care of, so I didn't do much touring. I could have, I guess, butt had to keep my job. We went down to play the 'Louisiana Hayride' in Shreveport a couple times, but it was one of those deals where they didn't want the whole band. Some and Johnny went down there and used their band ... And I was on a Grand Ole Opry show in Memphis, with Marty Robbins, onetime. "The Opry show took place April 26 at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis with Ernest Tubb as co-headliner. The Jimbos joined a line-up of local acts that included Orbison, Smith, Perkins and Eddie Bond on stage, and they performed just two numbers: ''A Fool For Lovin' You'' and ''Crawdad Hole''.

When he stepped on stage, Jake Earls was still shy of audiences, but he didn't look for a porch to hide under anymore. ''In the early days. I never talked, I just sang the songs'', he said. ''One time, we worked on the back of a flat-bed truck across Arkansas for the Southern Oil Company. We had an announcer with us, and we were on the radio''.

According to Earls, ''A Fool For Lovin You'' stayed on local jukeboxes and the radio for over a year. The $2500 check Earls received from Phillips suggested sales of about 40,000 copies. "I'd be in some of them joints, and someone was always wantin' me to sing along with the record when they played it on the jukebox'', said Earls. "I always thought that was the hit. Years later, (after the rockabilly revival of the 1970s), people knew me for ''Slow Down''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Late one night in the back seat of his '52 Buick, Jack Earls came up with the song that became his calling card in decades to come: ''Slow Down''. Said Earls, ''The band worked up the song, and we went into cut another session. Now, Sam already had ''Hey Jim'' ready to go. He turned on the tape recorder and we played ''Slow Down'' for him one time. When we got done playing the song, Sam come out of the control room jumping up and down, yelling, That's it! That's gonna be a hit''!

'Slow down (group response: Slow down! set me free 'Cause my ha-ha-heart's a- goin'round and round You live too fast, you got so much class Slow down, baby. slow down''.

The band's performance was as natural and spontaneous as anything Presley had recorded - sounding just as fresh and tough. The arrangement let everyone get their two cents in, from Gregory and Wahlquist's instrumental calland-response at the beginning, to Black's bass solo over the rest of the band and Earl's expressive vocal. ''Sam was always looking for something ... and when he found it, that was it'', said Earls. Phillips wisely refused to let them record another take. The early April session also included a couple more sweet country hoppers: ''If You Don't Mind'' and ''Coming Back Home'', a recording that Sun Records researchers could not find in later years (Earls also claimed a 1950s version of ''Game Of Love'' is lost).

STUDIO SESSION FOR JACK EARLS
AT THE MEMPGIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY APRIL 14, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Jack Earls was a baker who lived in Memphis and, for all his time in the studio, saw only one disc released by Sun. His life and music are recounted in detail on Bear Family Records BFX 15273. earls possessed a nasal tenor voice with almost no range; in short, it was perfectly suited for the music he made. Jack Earls also performed "A Fool For Lovin' You" when the Opry Show visited Memphis, and then toured with the road show.

Jack Earls came to Sun at an opportune moment; with Elvis having paved a pioneering rockabilly trail, 1956 was a vintage year at Sun for that musical genre, and one that the Sun reputation is mainly based on. With Elvis Presley gone, Sam Phillips was more receptive to new talents. This was the year that Sonny Burgess cut "We Wanna Boogie" and "Red Headed Woman", that Roy Orbison recorded "Ooby Dooby", that Billy Lee Riley launched his "Flying Saucer Rock And Roll" and that Warren Smith flirted with "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby". Jack Earls solitary single "Slow Down"/"A Fool For Lovin' You" stands up well in such exalted company. Although Earls states that he is surprised that Sam Phillips saw anything in him on that first occasion when they came into the Memphis Recording Service, it is an undoubted fact that Jack Earls had all the prerequisites of the classic rockabilly singer; a rural upbringing with a leavening of country music and an untrained tenor voice with an intensity that was so far back in the hills as to be out of sight.

01 - "SLOW DOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 184 Master
Recorded: - April 14, 1956
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 240-A < mono
SLOW DOWN / A FOOL FOR LOVING YOU
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-1-23 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

"Slow Down", indeed Jack Earls himself, embody the very heart of Sun's appeal. This is a spare, tense, minimalists, brooding record. It may also be the only rockabilly record with a 12 bar bass solo. His sidemen would have been comfortale jamming with Luther Perkins, whose lack of instrumental prowess was legendary. If Sun 240 improved tenfold it would not be a slick record. But there is much to love here. Not quite as stinging and electrified as the wildest of Sun's rockabilly, there is drive and energy to savor here.

"Hey Jim" was going to be the top side of my first single but then I wrote "Slow Down" overnight. We worked it up and went to see Sam and the first time we cut it, Sam came out of the control room jumping up and down. He thought it was terrific. He forgot all about "Hey Jim" even though he'd already named the band The Jimbos".

Although Sam Phillips scrapped "Hey Jim" and went for "Slow Down" instead, he stuck to his original notion of putting "A Fool For Loving You" on the B-side. Whilst "Slow Down" never actually charted, it sold quite healthily as reflected in the $2500 royalty cheque Jack recalls receiving. On that basis it sold some 40-50,000 copies.

02 - "IF YOU DON'T MIND" - B.M.I. - 3:03
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 14, 1956
Released: - 1984
First appearance: - Redita Records (LP) LP 126 33rpm mono
COTTON CHOPPER COUNTRY
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-13 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS, PLUS

Two other songs were recorded, "If You Don't Mind" and "Come Back Home", however, no tapes of the latter have come to light.

03 - "COME BACK HOME" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Tape Dismissed
Recorded: - April 14, 1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Earls - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Black - Bass
Danny Walker - Drums
Warren Gregory - Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar

There was a veil of uncertainly over the personnel on Jack Earls sessions, with the likes of Bill Black and Luther Perkins cited as the musicians. However, this apparently was due to Sam Phillips' detailing these names on official session lists filed with AFM, as only Jack Earls was a union member. In fact Jack's band backed him on all his Sun recordings.

As historical document, the portents of this session and record were good. Released immediately following "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby", literally ushered in the golden era of rockabilly at Sun.

For Biograpy of Jack Earls see: > The Sun Biographies <
Jack Earls' Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

SPRING 1956

Heard on radio and in jukeboxes across Memphis, though, the Jimbos' ''A Fool For Lovin' You'' turned into a regional country hit. "Me and Warren Smith used to go around to the big disk jockeys (in Memphis), like Dewey Phillips, Bob Neal and Sleepy Eyed John, and give 'em copies of our records. Warren was a good friend of mine. He was a sharp guy We used to go cruisin' up and down Main Street in his black Cadillac'', said Jake Earls.

Why didn't ''Slow Down'' become another ''Ooby Dooby'' or ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby''? The performance may have been too wild for the times, what with Earls' Tennessee accent, and a musical arrangement that didn't follow a strict boogie woogie structure. Compared to the other rockers released on Sun in the spring of 1956, ''Slow Down'' was the most un-tethered, energetic and instinctive performance, qualities of the very best Sun records by the likes of Presley (''Baby Let's Play House''), Perkins (''Dixie Fried''), and others. In 1956, arbiters of popular culture might have referred to such performances as dangerous or threatening. Earls recalled hearing a few announcers on television and radio call rock and roll "the Devil's music''. Because the band forsook touring, playing mostly in their hometown for crowds of mature adults, and in light of all the controversy surrounding rock and roll music at the time, Earls may have felt more comfortable promoting'' A Fool For Lovin' You'' over ''Slow Down''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Roy Orbison was the new star on the horizon, unquestionably. But there were others for whom Sam Phillips had great hope as well. One was ''sultry feline redhead'' Barbara Pittman, the new Snearly Ranch Boys vocalist, applauded by Billboard for ''the back shack sound, female style of her Sun debut. Pittman had run away with cowboy star and bullwhip performer Lash LaRue's traveling show in her mid-teens and was told by Sam Phillips ''to go out and learn how to sing'' the first time she presented herself at the studio in the end of 1955.

STUDIO SESSION FOR BARBARA PITTMAN
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY SUNDAY APRIL 15, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

It's Johnny Bernero we hear on Barbara Pittman's first Sun recordings. She recorded inconsistently for Sun over a four year period, and saw four singles hit the market to very little acclaim. Better suited to rock and roll than her contemporaries, the Miller Sisters, her roadhouse voice belonged in clubs. Records magnified her limitations, but with Jack Clement as her boyfriend, she was unlikely to be dropped.

Barbara Pittman, she was, as she's fond of saying, one of the few female singers at Sun Records. Her voice had enough raw power for her to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the male singers at Sun. Here, on a 1956 recording, she's backed by the Snearly Ranch Boys. The band hits a solid country boogie groove, and Barbara's vocal is appealing husky. Earlier, Barbara Pittman hung out at Sun Records with Elvis Presley, but Sam Phillips wouldn't sign her until he heard her demo of Stan Kesler's "Playing For Keeps". This number probably dates from the next session, the time that Barbara's first single was recorded in April 1956.

There were three more singles on Phillips International spread over the next three years, all far more commercial than this. Any one of them could have made it. Barbara Pittman's treatment at Sun Records galls her to this day. She says that Sam Phillips preferred female singers to sound like Doris Day. If that was the case, he definitely should have left Barbara Pittman alone.

01(1) - "SENTIMENTAL FOOL" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably April 15, 1956
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15359-10 mono
I NEED A MAN
Reissued: - August 2002 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-1-9 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS 

01(2) - "SENTIMENTAL FOOL" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably April 15, 1956
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15359-13 mono
I NEED A MAN
Reissued: - August 2002 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-2-5 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS 

01(3) - "SENTIMENTAL FOOL" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably April 15, 1956
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15359-18 mono
I NEED A MAN
Reissued: - August 2002 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rom BCD 16609-1-22 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS 

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Barbara Pittman - Vocal
Buddy Holobaugh - Guitar
Marcus Van Story - Bass
Joe Baugh - Piano
Johnny Bernero – Drums
Probably John Ace Cannon - Saxophone 

Possible
Elsie Sappington - Vocals
Jimmy Knight - Vocals
Hank Byers - Vocals 

For Biograpy of Barbara Pittman see: > The Sun Biographies <
Barbara Pittman's Sun recordings can be heard on her playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Still very much in her teens, Barbara Ann Pittman earned her professional grounding in familiar Memphis nitespots such as the Eagles Nest and the Cotton Club. She fronted an outfit led by local drummer Clyde Leoppard and several of his sidemen were on hand when her inaugural recordings were made at 706 Union. There was little doubting what she had in mind with this title, to wit, the light soprano she'd been displaying on stage was convincingly replaced by a hot-blooded growl.

STUDIO SESSION FOR BARBARA PITTMAN
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY APRIL 15, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Not many Sun labels have borne the names of women. One side of Barbara Ann Pittman first Sun single (several records later appeared on Phillips International) was a conscious attempt to expand the boundaries of rockabilly to include female vocalists or, as Billboard called it, "the backshack sound, female style". Along with Janis Martin, Wanda Jackson and several others, Barbara Pittman has been dubbed a "female Elvis". She was indeed a chum of the King, but as an artist she was much more.

01 - "PLAYING FOR KEEPS" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Stanley A. Kesler
Stan Kesler wrote "Playing For Keeps" for Elvis Presley;
the demo was recorded by Barbara Pittman.
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Demo Acetate
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - Unissued - Tape Lost

"I Need A Man", was an obvious attempt by Sun to climb onto its own rockabilly bandwagon with a female artist. Driven by a slap bass, this track helped challenge rockabilly's 'men only' bias. Billboard magazine responded colorfully by saying "Here the back shack sound, female style".

02 - "I NEED A MAN" - B.M.I. - 2:52
Composer: - Barbara Pittman-Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 204 Master
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 253-A < mono
I NEED A MAN / NO MATTER WHO'S TO BLAME
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-25 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

03(1) - "NO MATTER WHO'S TO BLAME" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-5-8 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

03(2) - "NO MATTER WHO'S TO BLAME" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-6-2 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

This track presented here in its original as well as several alternate forms, offers an interesting and unusual blend of styles. The sound of 1950s pop is obvious in the vocal chorus and Hank Byers trumpet solo, but it is blended with some Memphis country (Stan Kesler's steel guitar is prominent). The final surprise is Barbara's unexpectedly sultry, late-night voice, which takes this under-rated record to a whole different level. Few records in 1956 were as unassumingly hybridzed.

In contrast, this song, which is rarely discussed or reissued, is an underestimated gem. Pittman's smokey vocal is showcased by a striking hybrid sound of Stan Kesler's steel and Bill Taylor's trumpet. Taylor's 8-bar solo is a standout. Sun fans seeking nothing but heavy breathing rockabilly will inevitably be disappointed; those with an open mind for hybrid music will discover the charms of this underrated side.

03(3) - "NO MATTER WHO'S TO BLAME" - B.M.I. - 3:09
Composer: - Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 205 Take 3 Master
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 253-B < mono
NO MATTER WHO'S TO BLAME / I NEED A MAN
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-26 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

04 - "VOICE OF A FOOL" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Quinton Claunch-Bill Cantrell
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm LP 1023 mono
ROCK AND ROLL PILS
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313 HK-2-11 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Barbara Pittman - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Buddy Holobaugh - Guitar
Marcus Van Story - Bass
Smokey Joe Baugh - Piano
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Johnny Bernero - Drums
John "Ace" Cannon - Tenor Sax
Bill Taylor or Hank Byers - Trumpet

Possible
Elsie Sappington - Vocals
Jimmy Knight - Vocals
Hank Byers - Vocals

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 1956

Sonny Burgess and his band, the Moonlighters to make a ninety-mile drive to Memphis for an audition at Sun Records, having played a couple of gigs with Elvis, as well as attending several others, in and around his native Newport, Arkansas. Sonny had his heart set on a career in baseball until he went in the army, where his baseball skills kept him from getting shipped off to Korea with the rest of his company, 80 percent of whom he was told were killed in combat.

When he got out in 1953, he felt like his future in baseball was over, and he went back to cotton farming with his father, focusing in his spare time on music. The band that Sonny formed with some friends, the Rocky Road Ramblers, started out playing hillbillt but before long changed its name to the Moonlighters and branched out to become an all-around dance band, featuring numbers like ''Stardust'', ''Moonglow'', and ''Harlem Nocturne'', as well as the Jimmy Reed/Big Joe Turner kind of rhythm and blues that Sonny in particular loved.

''We just went up there and said, 'We want to see Mr. Phillips. He listened to everything, we played a copy of ''Feelin' Good''. Sam Phillips told them that they needed a fuller sound so Burgess joined forces with Jack Nance and Joe Lewis who had another local band. It was Lewis who came up with the name "Pacers" for the new group, copping it from the Pacer airplane. Both Russell Smith and Jack Nance played drums so Nance (who was a music major in music) switched to his other instrument, trumpet. Sonny Burgess originally wanted a saxophone player to emulate Punky Coldwell, but he figured that the trumpet gave the Pacers a little different sound.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Coming to Sun Records at the dawn of the rockabilly era, Glenn Honeycutt had a smoother approach than most if his contemporaries. His lone Sun single had a half-decent chance of attracting pop airplay in 1957. If Sam Phillips was looking for something that would make the hair stand up on the back of his neck, Honeycutt wasn't it, but with the Sun session mafia and the seamless harmonies of the Miller Sisters behind him, his sole outing on Sun was a sweet anomaly.

STUDIO SESSION FOR GLENN HONEYCUTT
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN DEMO SESSION: SUNDAY APRIL 15, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "BAGPIPE ROCK" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Glenn Honeycutt
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - 1998
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8318-25 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 2

02 - "BE WISE DON'T CRY" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Glenn Honeycutt
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1036-14 mono
MORE SUNDOWN ROCKERS
Reissued: - 1999 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8383-24 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 3

03 - "HULA LULA" - B.M.I. - 1:20
Composer: - Glenn Honeycutt
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - 1998
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8318-26 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - Saar Records (CD) 500/200rpm Saar 41008-12 mono
THE BEST OF SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 2

04 - "I'LL HAVE YOU" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Glenn Honeycutt
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956

05 - "SEARCH FOR ME" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Glenn Honeycutt
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Released: - 1997
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8274-2 mono
THE VERY BEST OF SUN ROCKABILLY
Reissued: - 2002 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SNAJ 713 mono
THE SUN RECORDS STORY

06 – "GOTTA ROCK"
Composer: - Glenn Honeycutt
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956

07 – "SKYLARK BABY"
Composer: - Glenn Honeycutt
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - April 15, 1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Glenn Honeycutt - Vocal and Guitar
More Details Unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 1956

Jack Earls signed with Stars Incorporated, but was not prepared to travel far afield. "We used to tour a little bit but didn't go far. We just got into the nightclubs and hid away. I was working (with the Colonial Bakery) and couldn't get off so I only really hit the road a couple of times. Jack could never be induced to leave his job at the bakery.

Sleepy Eyed John on WHHM liked my record a whole lot and wanted me to come to Texas with him, but I never did go. Back then it was my family or my music. My job paid the bills and my music couldn't do that".

This eminently sensible approach, may well have contributed to Sam Phillips' failure to issue any further singles by Jack Earls, despite a number of further recordings. It was also an astute appraisal of the situation; for every Elvis or Carl there were tens of thousands of flops, and the delicate flowering of rockabilly was soon crushed by the moguls of the music industry, leaving the bulk of the rockabillies yesterday's news within a couple of years.

APRIL 15, 1956 SUNDAY

Amid increasing reports of a darker side of rock and roll, Alan Freed guests on CBS-TV to state his views. Eric Sevareid, CBS commentator, hosts the discussion which includes interviews with teenagers and newsreel footage of a Freed sponsored show in Camden, NJ.

APRIL 16, 1956 MONDAY

ABC Radio debuts "Rhythm Parade" on a nationally broadcasted rock and roll show from the Flame Show Bar in Detroit.

Johnny and Vivian Cash have their second daughter, Kathy Cash, in Memphis. The baby is Rosanne Cash's first sister.

Decca released Buddy Holly's first single, ''Blue Days, Black Nights'', recorded in Nashville. He mentors Waylon Jennings and writes ''True Love Ways'', which becomes a country hit for Mickey Gilley.

Chuck Berry recorded the rock classic ''Roll Over Beethoven'', with a reference to Carl Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes'' in the lyrics. In the same Chicago session, he recorded ''Brown Eyed Handsome Man'', which Waylon Jennings turns into a country hit; and ''Too Much Monkey Business', a future Freddy Weller hit.

Capitol released Wynn Stewart's ''The Waltz Of The Angels''.

APRIL 18, 1956 WEDNESDAY

The Movie star Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco and becomes Princess Grace of Monaco. Grace Kelly was an Oscar winning actress winning an Oscar for Best Actress in The Country Girl, other movies she starred in included High Noon (1952), Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), To Catch a Thief (1955) and High Society. In April 1955 while attending the Cannes Film Festival she met Prince Rainier III, the sovereign of the principality of Monaco . On December 3, 1955 while visiting the United States, Rainier met Kelly and her family, and he proposed. She accepted and the families began preparations for what the press at that time dubbed "The Wedding of the Century''. On April 18, 1956, Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco in a a 16-minute civil ceremony in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco, The Napoleonic Code of Monaco and the laws of the Roman Catholic Church necessitated two ceremonies, the first a civil ceremony and on the following day a church ceremony, and on April 19, 1956, the church ceremony took place at Monaco's Saint Nicholas Cathedral and was watched by over 30 million viewers on live television.

APRIL 19, 1956 THURSDAY

Sonny James recorded ''Twenty Feet Of Muddy Water''.

Clyde McPhater is discharged from the Army.

APRIL 20, 1956 FRIDAY

Johnny Cash make a appearance at the Danceland in Galveston, Texas.

APRIL 21, 1956 SATURDAY

Carl Perkins returned to live performances, beginning with an appearance in Beaumont, Texas with the "Big D Jamboree" tour.

Not quite one month since breaking his collarbone in an auto accident, Carl Perkins returns to the stage in Beaumont, Texas.

Patsy Cline makes a return appearance on ABC-TV's ''Ozark Jubilee''.

APRIL 22, 1956 SUNDAY

Carl Perkins perform and headlined at the City Auditorium in Galveston, Texas at 8 p.m. Also featured Johnny Cash, Capitol recording star Sonny James of the Ozark Jubilee, Justin Tubb of the Grand Ole Opry, The Belew Twins from the Big D Jamboree, and local radio and TV performers. Advance tickets $1.25, reserved 50 cents extra at Melody Record Shop, 2018 Avenue East. Tickets at door $1.50, children 50 cents.

The local newspaper reports: ''Perkins Sun recording ''Blue Suede Shoes'' is reportedly the only tune in 10 years to hit the top 10 of all three music charts; popular, country and rhythm and blues.

APRIL 23, 1956 MONDAY

Elvis Presley opens for his four-weeks at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas debut, with Shecky Green and the Freddy Martin Orchestra, Reaction is so negative, his four-week booking ends after two weeks.

Capitol records auditions for "the next Elvis Presley" Out of more then 200 auditions they sign 21 year old Gene Vincent from Norfolk, Virginia.

Carl and Valda Perkins have their third child, Stephen Allen, while Carl is on tour in San Antonio, Texas.

APRIL 26, 1956 THURSDAY

Bass player Dave Pomeroy is born in Naples, Italy. His credits include Trisha Yearwood's ''The Song Remembers When'', Keith Whitlay's ''I Wonder Do You Think Of Me'' and Kathy Mattea's ''Where've You Been''.

APRIL 27, 1956 FRIDAY

Faron Young recorded ''Sweet Dream'' and ''Until I Met You'' at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee.

Patsy Cline serves as grand marshall of the Apple Blossom Festival parade in Winchester, Virginia.

Roni Stoneman, of The Stoneman Family, marries Gene Cox. It's the first of five weddings for the future ''Hee Haw'' star.

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©