VARIOUS ARTISTS
"Raunchy Sugar -
The Pure Essence Of Memphis Rock & Roll"

Fantastic Voyage FVTD119
Total Playing Time 177.03 minutes        No. of Tracks: 75

Disc One:

Jimmy Pritchett - That's The Way I Feel/Jerry Lee Lewis - Ubangi Stomp/Charles Senns - Gee Whiz Liz/Alvin & Bill - Typing Jive/B B Cunningham - Trip To Bandstand/Johnny Cash - Oh Lonesome Me/Tommy Tucker - Loving Lil/Carl Perkins - You Can Do No Wrong/Lynn Vernon - Moon Rocket/Elvis Presley - Tryin' To Get To You/Eddie Bond - I've Got A Woman/Teddy Redell - Pipeliner/Ramon Mauphin - Rocking Rufus/Allen Page - She's The One That's Got It/Mark Taylor - Linda Lu/Larry Donn- That's What I Call A Ball/Billy Riley - No Name Girl/The Velvatones - Real Gone Baby/Marlon Grisham - Sugarfoot/Thomas Wayne - Girl Next Door/Jay B Loyd - I'm So Lonely/Scotty Moore Trio - Have Guitar, will Travel/Narvel Felts - Cry, Baby, Cry/Harold Dorman - Mountain Of Love/Macy 'Skip' Skipper - Quick Sand Love.

 

Disc Two:- Ain't Got No Home/Tommy Bell - Swamp Gal/Gloria Brady - Play Fair With Me/Don Willis - Warrior Sam/The Morgan Twins - Sittin' In The Drive-In/Carl Perkins - Sweethearts Or Strangers/Mack Self - Willie Brown/Bill Justis - Raunchy/Carl McVoy - There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight/Sonny Burgess - Ain't Gonna Do It/Billy Riley - Too Much Woman For Me/Steve Carl - Curfew/Conway Twitty - Rockhouse/Brad Suggs - Ooh Wee/Jerry Lee Lewis - Hand Me Down My Walkin' Cane/Pat Ferguson - Fool Am I/Johnny Cannon - Big Shot/Don Wade - Bust Head Gin/Buford Peek - Knock Down, Drag Out/Warren Smith - Stop The World/Junior Thompson - Mama's Little Baby/Cliff & The Sun-Rays - No Treason In My Heart/Thomas Wayne - This Time/Ray Scott - You Drive Me Crazy/Kennie Parchman - Treat Me Right.

 

Disc Three:

Eddie Cash - Doing All Right/Carl Mann - I'm Coming Home/Eddie Barton - Stairway to Nowhere/Johnny Cash - Life Goes On/Vernon Taylor - Sweet And Easy To Love/Jerry Lee Lewis - I'm Feelin' Sorry/The Four Dukes - Walkin' Alone/Ray Smith - Sail Away/Brother Dave Gardner - Mad Witch/Sonny Burgess - The Prisoner's Song/Charlie Rich - Gonna Be Waitin'/Bill Black's Combo - The Wheel/Matt Lucas - Tradin' Kisses/Donna Rae - Little Fool/Mickey Gilley - Come On Baby/Wailin' Bill Dell - You Gotta Be Loose/Teddy Redell - I Want To Hold You/Kimball Coburn - What A Day/The Catalinas - Ring Of Stars/Thomas Wayne - Tragedy/Buddy Shepherd - I'm Hypnotized/Gene Simmons - Goin' Back To Memphis/Ramon Mauphin - What's The Use/The Table Toppers - Talk To Me Baby/Elvis Presley - Baby Let's Play House. .

 

This is part four of the on-going series in which the Fantastic Voyage label issue a compilation of 75 tracks drawn from recordings made in a certain America city. This time the focus in on Memphis - a city that justifiably can lay claim to being the cradle of rock 'n' roll albeit that this is a contention disputed by New York or Cleveland, Ohio. I know that I raved about the previous three 'Sugar' releases but this one is the 'bees knees' of great rockin' music, often coming complete with a pounding piano in the instrumentation - truly magic stuff. Whilst no overview of rockin' Memphis music of the fifties can overlook or ignore the classic sounds that came from Sun Records at its 706 Union Street location, it is to the credit of compiler Stuart Colman that he has managed to include a number of fine rockin' tracks that perhaps are (unjustifiably not so well known. Memphis was located on the mighty Mississippi river and was therefore ideally placed to absorb the blues of the delta, the country influences from the neighboring rural areas plus the R&B sounds of Beale Street and West Memphis and thus come up with a brand of rock 'n' roll that is still truly exhilarating and remains difficult, if nigh-on impossible, to top.

There are selections from Sun Records with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis cutting loose on 'Ubangi Stomp' and 'I'm Feeling Sorry' whilst the unique rockin' styling of Carl Mann (with the late great Eddie Bush on lead guitar) is to the fore on such as 'I'm Comin' Home' and his cover of 'Ain't Got No Home'. Other Sun recording artists on this 75 track set include representations of the awe inspiring talent that was Billy Riley with 'No Name Girl' and 'Too Much Woman For Me'. Vernon Taylor is included with his 'Sweet And Easy To Love', Warren Smith with his great 'Stop The World' which rocks like there is no tomorrow whilst Carl Perkins has his 'Sweethearts Or Strangers' served up. Sonny Burgess is in there too with 'Ain't Gonna Do It' and 'The Prisoner's Song'. 'Gonna Be Waitin' by Charlie Rich has very clear overtones of his first hit 'Lonely Weekends' which means a good rockin' sound. Charlie is also dueting with Ray Smith on the latter's sadly overlooked 'Sail Way', a most melodic piece of rockin' music. It is good to see the demo version of 'Rock House' by Conway Twitty (subsequently recorded by Roy Orbison) and which has that Sun Recording Studio sound all over it. Truly, this is an exhilarating and marvelous piece of rock 'n' roll music. Oh yeah, before we leave the Sun Sound section of this review, there are some tracks ('Baby let's Play House' and 'Tryin' To Get To You') by a guy named Elvis Presley who has the potential to make the big time.

But Memphis was not solely Sun Records. There was Fernwood Records and they have several inclusions of this compilation. One is an ultimate piece of teen angst in 'Tragedy' by Thomas Wayne, a prime selection of haunting and captivating music. Thomas is also represented by his original version of 'This Time' which was a subsequent hit for Troy Shondell and 'Girl Next Door' which is covered by Mr. Presley on his 'Elvis Is Back' album. One of the truly great talents of the Memphis scene who only made three discs, two of which were on Fernwood, is Ramon Mauphin and he has his marvelous (and that is an understatement) 'What's The Use' and nearly as good 'Rockin' Rufus' included herein. Another important label was Hi Records and from their vaults we have 'Loving Lil' by the Memphis bad boy Tommy Tucker, the overlooked Kimball Coburn on 'What A Day' and Bill Black's Combo with a great instrumental 'The Wheel' which epitomizes the sound that this act developed. Gene Simmons has his great chugging sound of 'Going Back To Memphis' included, a disc that was released by the Chess group but recorded at Hi Records Royalty Studio.

Nice also to see the inclusion of Matt Lucas with his first disc 'Tradin' Kisses', Harold Dorman with his original version of 'Mountain Of Love', Don Willis on 'Warrior Sam' which was an inescapable track at the time of the Rockabilly Revival and the frantic Wailin' Bill Dell with 'You Gotta Be Loose'. Then there is the rockin' brilliance of Buford Peeks' 'Knock Down, Drag Out', Steve Carl's moody piece of rock 'n' roll on Curfew' and the relatively unknown 'Little Fool' by Donna Rae. Finally, mention must be made of two pieces of pounding piano lead rock 'n' roll, namely Jimmy Pritchett's 'That's The Way I Feel' which was produced by the legendary Stan Kesler and Eddie Cash's 'Doing All Right' that was issued on the Peak label, a set up owned by the Lansky Brothers who were tailors to Elvis. These two tracks are worth the cost of the set in their own right but then you have another 73 tracks of rockin' enjoyment as well.

Tony Wilkinson
September 2011