Sunday, November 11, 2018

52 Rays of Sun-Light: A Tribute to a Bygone Music Blog and to the Legacy of Sam Phillips

   Yesterday I learned that one of the classic music blogs, Uncle Gil's Rockin' Archives, came to end. This was due to a creepy threatening message from a hacker. Assholes of all strips are threatening music blogs these days. I fear the golden age of music sharing may be over. I'm certain that these threats are engineered by the megacorporations who own (and could care less about) this      music.
    This post is a tribute to Uncle Gil--and to all the music bloggers who have come and gone, made a contribution to the preservation and love of this music. and either hung up their spurs or were scared off by cyber-monsters.

     As well, it's a tribute to one of my heroes, Sam Phillips, and his visionary work in bringing to the world some of the South's finest music of the 20th century. From Howlin' Wolf to Johnny Cash to Charlie Rich to Elvis to... well, I could make this sentence a block long with names. The point is that he had the courage to experiment with unknown musicians and give them a chance to be heard. Without his risk-taking, the course of American music would have taken a different, probably duller path in the last half of the 20th century. These recordings, now over 50 years old, retain the vitality, drive and human spirit that was Phillips' gift as a record producer.

    By the time the 26 singles offered here today came out, Sam Phillips had sold his interest in Sun Records to Shelby Singleton, a Nashville producer who had done a good bit of work for the labels owned by Mercury Records. Peter Guralnick's riveting biography The Man who Invented Rock 'n' Roll (a must-read) gives the full story of the sale of Sun to this seasoned Nashville cat.
     Singleton allowed European rockabilly researchers access to the mass of tape masters he'd bought, and these 26 singles, released in France in the late 1970s, were authorized by him. These singles consist of material that, at the time, was unissued, except on bootlegs. European records labels such as Charly and Bear Family Records have made sure these performances are available on compact disc, and chances are your town's library system has at least one Bear Family collection of Sun
Records material, ready for you to check out and enjoy.
     In 1976, these singles, which were curated by brothers Patrice and Herve Barbat, in partnership with Henri Ferrero, were a godsend. They remain a heapin' helpin' of the incredible talent and electricity that made Memphis rock 'n' roll such a defining musical force.
     Included in this download are all 52 sides of these now sought-after vinyl singles plus label scans of the discs. Many of these tracks may be second-nature to hardcore rockabilly or Sun fans, but I find them a great "mix tape" of the sound that Sam Phillips, Jack Clement and other producers captured on tape as southern rock and rollers expressed their heart and soul in the crowded studio at 706 Union Avenue. I hope you enjoy this batch of Memphis magic, and that you'll join me in a top of the Hatlo hat to Uncle Gil and all the other music bloggers who have helped make these wonderful sounds available to those of us who cared (and still care).

THIS LINK will net you the whole shebang. Peace be with you.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the interesting comps. I like your site a lot.