November 12, 2019

Blues and Rhythm Show 262 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, October 22nd (10:00 to 12:00 noon)

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We took a look at the Sun Blues catalogue, records made at Sun Studios between 1951 and 1957. Recording blues for the Modern-RPM and Chess labels was how Sam Phillips started out before those two labels became embroiled in a dispute over which label  had the right to record Howlin’ Wolf and Rosco Gordon. Phillips had recorded each man for both labels. In the end, Modern-RPM got Rosco Gordon as an exclusive artist and began making records without Phillips studio. Howlin’ Wolf remained with Chess but the arrangement between Chess and Sun Studios became unsatisfactory to both sides while Phillips began to issue records on his own Sun label. With his own label, Phillips was able to record Memphis and Delta blues the way he wanted but not to issue all the records he would have liked to. He recorded much more than he could afford to press and distribute.

After 1954, most of Sun’s resources were committed to selling rockabilly and recording blues slowed dramatically. It needs to be pointed out that this was true throughout the industry. Not that blues records stopped being made altogether but if you look closely at the blues discography you can see how the recording careers of so many figures in blues and R&B ended or slowed dramatically around 1954.

Our feature mixed recordings issued by Sun with unissued songs and alternate takes of issued songs from the Sun vaults. Also on the program, a couple of older Memphis bluesmen recorded by Samuel Charters at Sun Studios, the Old South Quartette, some 1950s Memphis Gospel, Michael Pickett and and something from the latest Bobby Radcliff album.

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Othe Show:

HowellDevine –  Harrison Kennedy – Old South Quartette – Memphis Willie B. – Howlin’ Wolf – Doctor Ross – David “Honeyboy” Edwards – Big Memphis Ma Rainey – Little Junior’s Blue Flames – Mose Vinson – Earl Hooker – Songbirds of the South – Angel Voices – and others

Listen to the program each week at FM 93.3 in Hamilton, live on Cogeco Cable 288 or on CFMU online at CFMU.ca. The program will be available to stream or download until December 17h. CFMU podcasts now available for 8 weeks. Just go the website, bring up the playlist and stream or download the show.

Contact Us:

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week

Sun Blues





October 6, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 199 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, October 6th, (1:00-2:30 pm).

The Blues & Rhythm Show is not any one thing but it is first and foremost a blues show. We try to cover all kinds of blues, especially blues in the great tradition that endured into the 1960s. Certain blues styles, blues artists and record labels that specialized in blues have received a great deal of attention since the 1960s, and often at the expense of other blues styles, figures in the blues and other record labels. This was especially true especially early in the early years after the blues revival. For example, we have tried not to over-emphasize the Chess and Sun labels and recording artists in their respective catalogues on the program because these labels have received so much attention.

Blues from the Sun Record Company are an interesting case because the Sun label’s blues output was relatively small and just about all of it issued in a short period of time, 1952 to 1954. On the other hand, we can look at the output of Sam Phillips’ studio in Memphis as having produced much more blues than the 25 or 30 blues records issued on the Sun label up to the end of 1954, the year that Elvis Presley came to the label. The Memphis Recording & Sound Studio produced records for Chess-Checker, Modern-RPM and Trumpet before Phillips formed his own label. It also turned out to be the case that Sun recorded and kept the acetates and tapes of a great deal of material that was never issued as 78 or 45 rpm discs. So, the Sun archives turned out to hold a large store of Delta region blues and R&B.

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Though the researches of Colin Escott and Martin Escott and various collaborators along the way the Sun story has been comprehensively unearthed and more and more of the Sun catalogue has come available to present-day listeners first through an extensive LP series on Charly in the seventies and the Sun Blues Box on LP in the eighties. The culmination not just for the blues catalogue but for the rock and roll and country catalogues as well came recently with three lavish Bear Family box sets from Germany.

We did a 90 minute overview special on the Sun label in our 25th show and we haven’t returned to the Sun label since then. This week, we take a look at the blues side of the label in the feature portion of the show. We have not included some of the bigger names who recorded for Sun or for other labels at Memphis Recording & Sound Studios but we will come back for a followup Sun feature in the near future and fill out the picture of the Sam Phillips’ blues recording.

Filling, out this week’s program, a couple of songs from the gospel side of Sun Records, a pair of recordings with Clarksdale, Mississippi associations and some retro R&B.

On the Show:

Rosco Gordon – The Robins – Colin James – Super Chikan – Doctor Ross – Willie Nix – Jimmy DeBerry – Mose Vinson – Billy “The Kid” Emerson – Jones Brothers – Eddie Chamblee

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.msumcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until November 2nd.

Contact Us: To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com. You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (October 13th)



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