Sun Records recordings on CDs re-released by Bear Family

Sun Records editions by Bear Family Records

Sam Phillips sensed that Memphis was a special place and he knew about the spiritual power of music. He rented an old building on Union Avenue that he turned into; "The Memphis Recording Service - We record anything – anywhere – anytime." His continuing experience as a producer combined with his instincts and vision. Ultimately created a legendary output and label: he literally changed the world! Bear Family offers many CDs by legendary Sun performers from Sonny Burgess to Bill Yates!

Sam Phillips

Sam Phillips once told the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art that, in his view: "To write or sing songs and make music is probably our greatest amancipator of the spirit. Memphis was made up of a great cross section of black and white rural people from the likes of the Delta and hills and woods and farms of Alabama and Tennessee.

Memphis is a special place, the repository of many proud, humble, friendly determined people. After the Depression and the Mississippi floods of 1927, there were meagre earnings for both black people and poor white. Out of adversity came people with their songs and a chance to catch their elusive dreams. I recognized all this – and I 'dared to begin'. Where it would take us, I didn't know."

The Memphis Recording Service

Where it took Phillips was to an old building at 706 Union Avenue that in 1950 he turned into Memphis' first recording business – 'The Memphis Recording Service: We record anything – anywhere – anytime' – and soon to the top of the R&B charts with his 1951 recording of Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm.

Phillips gave up his day job recording big band radio broadcasts and instead he recorded B. B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Junior Parker, Bobby Bland, Rosco Gordon, Rufus Thomas, and the Prisonaires vocal group. He recorded country singers Harmonica Frank, Slim Rhodes and Charlie Feathers. Then he recorded Elvis Presley, and the rest really, truly, was history.

But this was just the start. He discovered or recorded Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich - and many others then unknown but in whom Phillips heard that penchant and yearning to play, and to play a music that was 'different'. "Can you hear Johnny Cash with a steel guitar?" Phillips challenged, his withering look demanding a "no" in response.

if you're not doing something different, you're not doing anything

Sam Phillips liked to say to his artists, "if you're not doing something different, you're not doing anything." Phillips encouraged music that was individualistic but he also developed his own studio sound and style within which he framed their efforts.

He later explained: "Everything I recorded had to have a basic gut feeling to it, whether blues, gospel, country, rockabilly. I tried to help the artists where I could with a song structure or a lyric, but basically I tried to get them to record what they had, and to bring out of them what they were."

Sam Phillips' approach would have resonated with Mark Twain who unintentionally summarised Phillips' gift as a producer of records when he wrote – "all of us contain Music and Truth, but most of us can't get it out." Sam Phillips got it out. And he put it onto little yellow Sun records for the world to hear.  By Martin Hawkins

 

All SUN CDs -  All SUN Rock'n'Roll CDs - All SUN Boxsets - All SUN Country CDs - All SUN Blues CDs - All SUN R&B CDs

Sun Records editions by Bear Family Records Sam Phillips sensed that Memphis was a special place and he knew about the spiritual power of music. He rented an old building on Union Avenue... read more »
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Sun Records recordings on CDs re-released by Bear Family

Sun Records editions by Bear Family Records

Sam Phillips sensed that Memphis was a special place and he knew about the spiritual power of music. He rented an old building on Union Avenue that he turned into; "The Memphis Recording Service - We record anything – anywhere – anytime." His continuing experience as a producer combined with his instincts and vision. Ultimately created a legendary output and label: he literally changed the world! Bear Family offers many CDs by legendary Sun performers from Sonny Burgess to Bill Yates!

Sam Phillips

Sam Phillips once told the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art that, in his view: "To write or sing songs and make music is probably our greatest amancipator of the spirit. Memphis was made up of a great cross section of black and white rural people from the likes of the Delta and hills and woods and farms of Alabama and Tennessee.

Memphis is a special place, the repository of many proud, humble, friendly determined people. After the Depression and the Mississippi floods of 1927, there were meagre earnings for both black people and poor white. Out of adversity came people with their songs and a chance to catch their elusive dreams. I recognized all this – and I 'dared to begin'. Where it would take us, I didn't know."

The Memphis Recording Service

Where it took Phillips was to an old building at 706 Union Avenue that in 1950 he turned into Memphis' first recording business – 'The Memphis Recording Service: We record anything – anywhere – anytime' – and soon to the top of the R&B charts with his 1951 recording of Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm.

Phillips gave up his day job recording big band radio broadcasts and instead he recorded B. B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Junior Parker, Bobby Bland, Rosco Gordon, Rufus Thomas, and the Prisonaires vocal group. He recorded country singers Harmonica Frank, Slim Rhodes and Charlie Feathers. Then he recorded Elvis Presley, and the rest really, truly, was history.

But this was just the start. He discovered or recorded Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich - and many others then unknown but in whom Phillips heard that penchant and yearning to play, and to play a music that was 'different'. "Can you hear Johnny Cash with a steel guitar?" Phillips challenged, his withering look demanding a "no" in response.

if you're not doing something different, you're not doing anything

Sam Phillips liked to say to his artists, "if you're not doing something different, you're not doing anything." Phillips encouraged music that was individualistic but he also developed his own studio sound and style within which he framed their efforts.

He later explained: "Everything I recorded had to have a basic gut feeling to it, whether blues, gospel, country, rockabilly. I tried to help the artists where I could with a song structure or a lyric, but basically I tried to get them to record what they had, and to bring out of them what they were."

Sam Phillips' approach would have resonated with Mark Twain who unintentionally summarised Phillips' gift as a producer of records when he wrote – "all of us contain Music and Truth, but most of us can't get it out." Sam Phillips got it out. And he put it onto little yellow Sun records for the world to hear.  By Martin Hawkins

 

All SUN CDs -  All SUN Rock'n'Roll CDs - All SUN Boxsets - All SUN Country CDs - All SUN Blues CDs - All SUN R&B CDs

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Onie's Bop
Onie Wheeler: Onie's Bop Art-Nr.: BCD15542

Item must be ordered

1-CD with 20-page booklet, 31 tracks. Playing time approx. 76 mns. Another of the hidden gems of the Bear Family catalogue! Onie sounded like no one. He played harmonica and sang some of the most moving, gutwrenching country music you'll...
$16.56 $18.94
Memphis Days Vol.1 (CD)
Howlin' Wolf: Memphis Days Vol.1 (CD) Art-Nr.: BCD15460

Ready to ship today, delivery time** appr. 1-3 workdays

1-CD with 12-page booklet, 21 tracks. Playing time approx. 61 min. Hailed by fans and critics as one of the greatest blues CDs ever issued! For SUN Records founder Sam Phillips, Chester Burnett aka Howlin' Wolf remained the greatest...
$16.56 $18.94
Memphis Days Vol.2 (CD)
Howlin' Wolf: Memphis Days Vol.2 (CD) Art-Nr.: BCD15500

Ready to ship today, delivery time** appr. 1-3 workdays

1-CD with 8-page booklet, 19 tracks. Playing time approx. 51 mns. A companion to Volume 1, this includes all the released Chess masters from Memphis together with out-takes of both the issued and unissued recordings. A total of 19 songs...
$16.56 $18.94
Just Walkin' In The Rain (CD)
PRISONAIRES: Just Walkin' In The Rain (CD) Art-Nr.: BCD15523

Ready to ship today, delivery time** appr. 1-3 workdays

1-CD with 28-page booklet, 26 tracks. Playing time approx. 67 mns. The only major Sun vocal group was a good one. The Prisonaires were five inmates of Tennessee State Penitentiary led by the incredible tenor of Johnny Bragg. This is the...
$16.56 $18.94
Classic Recordings 1956-1960 (2-CD)
Billy Lee Riley: Classic Recordings 1956-1960 (2-CD) Art-Nr.: BCD15444

Ready to ship today, delivery time** appr. 1-3 workdays

2-CD with 38-page booklet, 49 tracks. Playing time approx. 110 mns. Classic... and then some! When people talk about rockabilly, Billy Lee Riley is usually in the 'A' list, even tho' he never had a hit. His spectacularly untamed vocals,...
$27.25 $35.56
Classic Recordings 1956-59 (2-CD)
Sonny Burgess: Classic Recordings 1956-59 (2-CD) Art-Nr.: BCD15525

Ready to ship today, delivery time** appr. 1-3 workdays

(Bear Family Records) 2-CD, 57 tracks with 32 page booklet. There's nothing wilder in Fifties music than Sonny Burgess's Sun recordings. The complete story is here in 54 incredible rafter shakin', barn burnin' cuts. Several of the...
$23.69 $35.56
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