Various Artists – The Memphis Recordings From The Legendary Sun Studios – Vol. 1 (2016)

FrontCover1.jpgAnd now I will start with a collection of 30 CD´s … and I´m  talkin´about the legendary Sun Studos and Records in Memphis:

Sun Studio is a recording studio opened by rock-and-roll pioneer Sam Phillips at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 3, 1950. It was originally called Memphis Recording Service, sharing the same building with the Sun Records label business. Reputedly the first rock and roll single, Jackie Brenton and his Delta Cats’ “Rocket 88” was recorded there in 1951 with song composer Ike Turner on keyboards, leading the studio to claim status as the birthplace of rock & roll. Blues and R&B artists like Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Parker, Little Milton, B.B. King, James Cotton, Rufus Thomas, and Rosco Gordon recorded there in the early 1950s.

Rock and roll, country music, and rockabilly artists, including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis, recorded there throughout the mid-to-late 1950s until the studio outgrew its Union Avenue location. Sam Phillips opened the larger Sam C. Phillips Recording Studio, better known as Phillips Recording, in 1959 to replace the older facility. Since Phillips had invested in the Holiday Inn Hotel chain earlier, he also recorded artists starting in 1963 on the label Holiday Inn Records for Kemmons Wilson. In 1957, Bill Justis recorded his Grammy Hall of Fame song “Raunchy” for Sam Phillips and worked as a musical director at Sun Records.

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In 1969, Sam Phillips sold the label to Shelby Singleton, and there was no recording-related or label-related activity again in the building until the September 1985 Class of ’55 recording sessions with Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, produced by Chips Moman.

In 1987, the original building housing the Sun Records label and Memphis Recording Service was reopened, by Gary Hardy as “Sun Studio,” a recording label and tourist attraction that has attracted many notable artists, such as U2, Def Leppard, Bonnie Raitt, and Ringo Starr.

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In 2005, Brian Setzer (of Stray Cats fame) released his Rockabilly Riot Vol. 1: A Tribute To Sun Records album. Although not recorded at Sun it did feature various Sun Records recordings including some hits and other more obscure songs. In 2007, Canadian rockabilly band the Kingmakers recorded a selection of originals and classics such as Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right” at Sun Studio, released as their first CD “Live at SUN Studio”. In May 2009, Canadian blues artist JW-Jones recorded with blues legend Hubert Sumlin, Larry Taylor and Richard Innes for his 2010 release at the studio. In July 2009, John Mellencamp recorded nine songs for his album No Better Than This at the studio. In 2011, Chris Isaak released “Beyond the Sun,” a collection of songs recorded at Sun Studio, most of which are cover versions of songs originally released on Sun Records.

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In January 1950, WREC radio engineer Sam Phillips opened the Memphis Recording Service at 706 Union Avenue with his assistant and long-time friend, Marion Keisker. Phillips had dreamed of opening his own recording studio since he was a young man, and now that it was a reality he was overjoyed. However, getting the company off the ground was not an easy task. To create revenue at the beginning, Phillips would record conventions, weddings, choirs, and even funerals. He also held an open door policy, allowing anybody to walk in and, for a small fee, record their own record. Phillips’ slogan for his studio was “We Record Anything, Anywhere, Anytime.”[3] In June, Phillips and a friend, local DJ Dewey Phillips who was no relation, set up their own record label called Phillips Records. The purpose of the label was to record “negro artists of the South” who wanted to make a recording but had no place to do so. The label failed to make an impact and folded after just one release; “Boogie in the Park” by Joe Hill Louis, which sold less than 400 copies.

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After the failure of Phillips Records, Phillips began working closely with other record labels such as Chess Records and Modern Records, providing demo recordings for them and recording master tapes for their artists.[5] It was during this time that Phillips recorded what many consider to be the first rock and roll song, Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket 88”.[3] Some biographers have suggested that it was Phillips’ inventive creativeness that led to the song’s unique sound, but others put it down to the fact that the amplifier used on the record was broken, leading to a “fuzzy” sound.[5] The Sun Studio tour lends credence to the latter, with the tour guide saying the amplifier was stuffed with wads of newspaper.

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In early 1952, Phillips once again launched his own record label, this time calling it Sun Records. During his first year he recorded several artists who would go on to have successful careers. Among them were B.B. King, Joe Hill Louis, Rufus Thomas, and Howlin’ Wolf. Despite the number of singers who recorded there, Phillips found it increasingly difficult to keep profits up. He reportedly drove over 60,000 miles in one year to promote his artists with radio stations and distributors. To keep costs down, he would pay his artists three percent royalties instead of the usual five percent that was more common at the time. Phillips turned to alcohol when it looked like his label would once again fail, and he was put into a mental hospital at one point, reportedly getting electric shock treatment.

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Rufus Thomas’ “Bearcat”, a recording that was similar to “Hound Dog”, was the first real hit for Sun in 1953. Although the song was the label’s first hit, a copyright-infringement suit ensued and nearly bankrupted Phillips’ record label.[6] Despite this, Phillips was able to keep his business afloat by recording several other acts, including the Prisonaires, a black quartet who were given permission to leave prison in June 1953 to record their single, “Just Walkin’ in the Rain”, later a hit for Johnnie Ray in 1956.[7] The song was a big enough hit that the local newspaper took an interest in the story of its recording. A few biographers have said that this article, printed in the Memphis Press-Scimitar on July 15, influenced Elvis Presley to seek out Sun to record a demo record. (by wikipedia)

And on this Volume 1 you can hear – in chronological order – the first nine singles from this legendary label (1952/1953). Discover artists like Johnny London, Handy Jackson or Dusty Brooks. A milestone in the history of Blues and Rock N Roll … and I will present all 30 CD´s , the last CD maybe in the year 2025 …

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Tracklist:

Johnny London:
01. Drivin’ Slow (London) 3.00
02. Flat Tire (London) 2.30

Handy Jackson:
03. Trouble (Will Bring You Down) (Phillips/Jackson) 3.00
04. Got My Application, Baby (Phillips/Jackson) 3.07

Joe Hill Louis:
05. We All Gotta Go Sometime (Louis) 2.43
06. She May Be Yours (Phillips/Louis) 3.00

Willie Nix:
07. Seems Like A Million Years (Phillips/Nix) 2.42
08. Baker Shop Boogie (Phillips/Nix) 2.44

Jimmy De Berry & Walter Horton:
09. Easy (Walter Horton) (unknown) 3.01
10. Before Long (Jimmy De Berry) (De Berry) 2.59

Rufus Thomas:
11. Bear Cat (Phillips) 2.54
12. Walking In The Rain (Thomas) 2.25

Dusty Brooks:
13. Heaven Or Fire (Brown) 2.42
14. Tears And Wine (Brown) 2.43

D.A. Hunt:
15. Lonesome Old Jail (Hunt) 3.01
16. Greyhound Blues (Hunt) 2.39

Big Memphis Ma Rainey:
17. Call Me Anything, But Call Me (Dubrover) 3.03
18. Baby, No, No (Keisker/Addington) 2.44

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