For release at the end of July is 'The Sun Sessions', a compilation of Elvis Presley's recordings at Sun Studios in 1954 and 1955. The album was origianlly issued by RCA Records in 1976 and featured liner notes by Roy Carr of the New Musical Express. It had been issued and charted as The Sun Collection in the UK the previous year.
The album features most of the tracks recorded at Sun studio by Sam Phillips, the head of Sun Studios. Phillips signed Presley after hearing a song that he had recorded for his mother on his birthday. It includes 'That's All Right' one of the few recordings regarded as 'the first rock and roll record'.
Phillips said that Presley was rehearsing with his band, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, when Presley started singing the song, a blues song written by Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup. Phillips said that the version of the song was what he was looking for when he signed Presley, and turned the tape recorder on.
Many believe rock & roll was born on July 5th, 1954, at Sun Studio in Memphis.
Elvis Presley, guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black were horsing around with 'That's All Right, Mama', a tune by bluesman Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, when producer Sam Phillips stopped them and asked, 'What are you doing?' 'We don't know', they said. Phillips told them to 'back up and do it again'.
The A side of Presley's first single (backed with a version of Bill Monroe's 'Blue Moon of Kentucky'), 'That's All Right' was issued by Sun on July 19th. It may or may not be the first rock & roll record.
But the man who would be King was officially on wax. Bridging black and white, country and blues, his sound was playful and revolutionary, charged by a spontaneity and freedom that changed the world. 'It's the blues', critic Greil Marcus wrote in his classic book Mystery Train. 'But free of all worry, all sin; a simple joy with no price to pay'. Presley released four more singles on Sun – including definitive reinventions of Wynonie Harris' 'Good Rockin' Tonight' and Junior Parker's 'Mystery Train' – before moving on to immortality when Phillips sold his contract to RCA for $35,000.
Incredibly, it took more than 20 years for Presley's Sun output to be properly collected on a 1976 LP – which has since been superseded by this 1999 double-CD chronicle of the King's beginnings at Sun. It collects everything he cut at the studio, including alternate takes and the 1953 acetate he recorded as a gift for his mother as a shy and awkward recent high school graduate.
01. That's All Right
02. Blue Moon Of Kentucky
03. I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
04. Good Rockin' Tonight
05. Milkcow Blues Boogie
06. You're A Heartbreaker
07. I'm Left You're Right She's Gone
08. Baby Let's Play House
09. Mystery Train
10. I Forgot To Remember To Forget
11. I'll Never Let You Go
12. I Love You Because (1st Version)
13. Trying To Get To You
14. Blue Moon
15. Just Because
16. I Love You Because (2nd Version)