jerry lee CMHOf HITS COVER

1969 LP released after his revival as a country hitmaker.

I don’t know why I am not in (the Country Music Hall of Fame),” Lewis said. “I mean, they got it stirred up and talking about it. I don’t know why they don’t put me in it. I don’t understand that.”

Kristen Hall of the Associated Press recently interviewed Jerry Lee Lewis, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Sun Records rockabilly icon, one quarter of the famous "Million Dollar Quartet" jam session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, about this very thing. An online petition exists, aimed at the Country Music Association, urging them to make this move (not all the facts stated are accurate).

Published in Get Rhythm
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 19:11

Sun Rocker Sonny Burgess Dies at 88



Unlike 82 year old Jerry Lee Lewis, Sonny Burgess wasn't a member of the Million Dollar Quartet. Burgess "The Arkansas Wild Man," was the last of the wild, hard-rockers of the 50's who blossomed at Sun Records in Memphis. A contemporary of Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee and Roy Orbison, Burgess, 88, died August 18, a month after suffering a fall. He'd been touring with his longtime band the Legendary Pacers.

Published in Get Rhythm
Saturday, 05 August 2017 19:47

Elvis Presley's Sunrise: PG Music Podcast

 My review of the just-released three-CD Elvis Presley box set: A Boy From Tupelo, chronicling his first four private recordings done at Sun, the complete Sun recordings, outtakes and a disc's worth of 1954-55 live performances taken from radio.   

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On July 28, Sony releases an unprecedented compilation of Elvis Presley's pre-stardom years (1953-55). A Boy From Tupelo - The Complete 1953-55 Recordings is a boxed package. The three-CD set begins with the four recordings a teenaged Elvis made at the Memphis Recording Service (part of Sun Records) for his personal use. The collection includes a large, lavishly illustrated 120 page book covering his 1954-55 schedule virtually day by day, with amazing photos of him at various Deep South venues with a few in color.

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 Scotty Moore and Elvis Presley are names forever joined in history, Scotty, Elvis's first guitarist, died yesterday at 84 in Nashville, where he'd resided for over half a century. From Presley's first Sun recordings in July 1954, until the singer entered the Army in 1958, and for a brief time after his 1960 discharge, Scotty's bopping, snarling and slashing guitar framed Elvis's vocals on everything from "That's All Right (Mama)" to "Hard Headed Woman" (from King Creole).

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Jerry Lee Lewis, as much of the world knows, got in trouble for marrying his cousin Myra Gale Brown in 1959.  Myra's father, J.W. Brown, was Jerry Lee's cousin and bass player.  At some point during Jerry's time with Sun Records, J.W. Brown and J.R Brown, surely a relative, using only an upright bass and guitar recorded this simple, wonderfully goofy drinking song  at the Sun Studio at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis.   J.W. is, naturally on bass, J.R playing guitar. It was recorded in late 1956 or early 1957, very likely while fooling around during a break at a Jerry Lee Lewis recording session, almost surely just for fun.  The lyrics speak for themselves. 

Sun's owner Sam Phillips, clearly didn't hear the hit potential.  It was never released--probably never intended to be. It wound up uncovered decades by researchers working on an LP compilation of rare and obscure Sun country material.   No matter. It gives new meaning to the term "acoustic singer-songwriter."




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On August 28, the Country Music Hall of Fame opened an exhibit dedicated to Sun Records of Memphis and the artistic vision of its eccentric founder and visionary, Sam Phillips (1923-2003), titled Flyin' Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius Of Sam Phillips, the title inspired by a recording by Sun rockabilly Billy Lee Riley. The exhibit will include various events, performances and panel discussions.  Peter Guralnick's massive Phillips biography, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll will appear in November.

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 One of the great moments in the history of early rock came October 8, 1957, at a Jerry Lee Lewis for Sun Records, the one where he recorded the now-immortal "Great Balls of Fire." There was, however, more going on than just making the record.

Published in Get Rhythm

If you're going to see the CLO Cabaret presentation of Ring Of Fire: The Music Of Johnny Cash, the music will obviously be front and center.  It's not meant as historical chronicle. Nonetheless, it's easy to confuse the true narrative of Cash's life with the many myths and legends surrounding it.  It's finally well known that he never did prison time, but other facts about the man are worth knowing before you go, regardless of any conjecture you may hear.

Published in Get Rhythm
Friday, 09 August 2013 08:03

Cowboy Jack Clement: One Of A Kind

Cowboy Jack Clement recorded hits, some of them classics, though none bore his name as the artist. Only two of his singles even (barely) charted. It doesn't really matter. Without him, Clement, who died Thursday of cancer at age 82, many country and rock standards might not have ever happened.   And few better personlfied the Nashville term "Music City USA."

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