THE SUN RECORDS ROCK ’N’ COLLECTION-40 ROCKIN’ GREATS FROM THE SUN VAULTS-LIMITED EDITION VINYL.

THE SUN RECORDS ROCK ’N’ COLLECTION-40 ROCKIN’ GREATS FROM THE SUN VAULTS-LIMITED EDITION VINYL.

Back in late 2014, I was talking to someone who was then, the label manager at an independent record label. At the time, sales of vinyl were growing on both sides of the Atlantic, as well in Europe. Many independent labels were jumping on the vinyl bandwagon, and releasing many of their releases on vinyl. This made sense, as a new generation had discovered the delights of vinyl. When I asked this particular label manager why his label weren’t releasing their albums on vinyl, his response was that vinyl was a passing fad? How wrong he’s been.

Just over two years later, and sales of vinyl are booming. Both independent and major labels are releasing albums on vinyl to a captivate audience. This included the new generation of record buyers, and baby boomers keen to replace their much loved original pressings of albums they bought in the late sixties and early seventies. Vinyl has risen like a phoenix from the ashes.

So much so, that now, each week literally hundreds of albums are reissued on vinyl. Nearly all of the major reissue programs feature a vinyl version. Indeed, certain groups, Pink Floyd and Genesis, are in the process of reissuing their back catalogue on vinyl also. Similarly, so is the late, great John Martyn. For record buyers these are welcome reissues. However, this is just part of the vinyl phenomenon.

Another part of the vinyl phenomenon is the myriad of limited editions. Often, anything between 100-1,000 copies of an album are released, often in clear or coloured vinyl. They’re often sold through independent record shops, like recent releases by Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai, King Creosote and the Pictish Trail. However, another type retailer is jumping on the vinyl bandwagon,..supermarkets.

Previously, the British supermarket chain Tesco released a series of albums to celebrate Father’s Day. This included albums by Status Quo, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Clash. These albums were released in limited quantities, usually 1,000, so it was no surprise that they quickly sold out. For Tesco this was a profitable venture, and one that generated free positive publicity for the company. However, Tesco aren’t just the only supermarket chain to jump on the vinyl bandwagon.

Far from it. Sainsbury’s have recently jumped on the burgeoning vinyl bandwagon, and have released a series of limited editions. This includes The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults, which was released as a double album by Charly, and retailed exclusively through Sainsbury’s. Only 1,000 copies were pressed on 180 gram orange heavyweight vinyl. This it appears, is meant to make the album look and feel like a quality product. That’s the case. Even the type of paper inner sleeve that’s been used, has been designed to save the vinyl being damaged. That’s a nice touch. My only gripe, and it’s is a minor one, is that it would’ve been nice if there was a booklet detailing even a brief history of Sun Records. After all, it’s without doubt, one of the most important labels in musical history.

It’s the label where rock ’n’ roll was born, and that was home to everyone from Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis to Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and the Silver Fox Charlie Rich. That’s not forgetting Warren Smith, The Miller Sisters, Billy Lee Riley and Earl Hooker. They all feature on The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. Some of their best known tracks feature on this double album, and will be instantly recognisable to music lovers of all ages. That’s the case throughout The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults.

Side One.

The compilers don’t hesitate to bring out their big guns on side of The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. Elvis Presley’s 1954 single Good Rockin’ Tonight gets the ball rolling and gives way to Carl Perkins’ original version of Blue Suede Shoes which was released in 1956. It’s followed High School Confidential which was released in 1958. Back then, it was credited to Jerry Lee Lewis and His Pumping Piano. Nowadays, though, it’s just credited to The Killer, who later makes a welcome return. Before that, stars of rock ’n’ roll take a bow

This includes The Man In Black, Johnny Cash. He encouraged the listener to Get Rhythm back in 1956. However, tucked away on the other side of Get Rhythm, was a future Johnny Cash classic Walk The Line. It features later in the compilation. Before that, Roy Orbison makes his debut with Ooby Dooby from 1956. Elvis then returns with I’m Left, You’re Right She’s Gone from 1955. However, Carl Perkins’ Dixie Fried from 1955, which was later recorded by James Luther Dickinson, is a very welcome addition. So is Billy Lee Riley’s Flying Saucer Rock And Roll, which was belatedly released in 1976. Closing side one is Roy Orbison’s Claudette, which was also covered by the Everly Brothers and Kris Jensen. Both versions more than do justice to the song, but for many people, The Big O’s version of Claudette is the best. That’s a matter of personal preference. Roy Orbison returns throughout The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults.

Side Two.

It’s Jerry Lee Lewis and His Pumping Piano’s Great Balls Of Fire that opens The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. This explosive classic was released in 1957, and since then has been a favourite on oldies stations ever since. So has the music of Johnny Cash. He was only twenty-three when released Cry!, Cry!, Cry! in 1955. Already he had honed his inimitable style and delivery that would become a favourite of several generations of music fans. 

A year later, in 1956, Carl Perkins released Blue Suede Shoes as a single. On the flip side was Honey Don’t. It’s a perfect showcase for the man who also penned Blue Suede Shoes. The same can be said of Charlie Rich’s 1959 single Rebound. It was released on Sam Phillips’ Phillips International label, and showed that the Silver Fox was destined for greatness. However, in when Elvis Presley released Let’s Play House in early 1955, he had still to make a commercial breakthrough. Let’s Play House was a game-changer, when it reached number five in the US Country chart. Buoyed by this success, Sun Records then released I’m Left, You’re Right. Alas, it failed to chart, but Elvis had taken the first steps on the road to being crowned The King.

Meanwhile, Carl Perkins continued to write and record for Sam Phillips’ Sun Records. He cowrote the irresistible Boppin’ The Blues, which was released as a single in 1956. The same year, 1956, Roy Orbison released Ooby Dooby, as a single with Go! Go! Go! (Down The Line) on the B-Side. It ensures side two finishes on a memorable and barnstorming high.

Side Three.

It’s Elvis Presley’s Mystery Train that opens the third side of The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. It was released as a single in 1955, reaching number ten in the US Country charts. Elvis was about to embark upon a period where commercial success was a constant companion. Alas, it was a different story for his another Sun Records’ artist.

Carl Perkins by 1957, had been enjoying hit singles single 1956. in 1957, Carl Perkins with Jerry Lee Lewis On 88 Keys released Put Your Cat Clothes On. Sadly, commercial success eluded what’s a hidden rockabilly gem. Meanwhile, The Killer was about to make a breakthrough.

Jerry Lee Lewis’ released Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On in early 1957. It reached number three in the US Billboard 100 and number one in the US Country charts. Since then, it’s been regarded as a classic. It’s a similar story with Johnny Cash’s I Walk The Line. Released in April 1956, it became synonymous with The Man In Black. Later that year, Jerry Lee Lewis and His Pumping Piano had released Crazy Arms in December 1956. This was The Killer’s debut single, which failed to trouble the charts. Commercial success was just round the corner for him. He wasn’t alone.

Charlie Rich’s career began in 1958, when he released Whirlwind on Phillips International. He went onto enjoy and long and successful career, and won two Grammy Awards. It’s fitting that he closes side three of The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults.

Side Four.

Two Sun Records’ classics open The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. The first is Elvis Presley’s 1954 Sun Records debut single That’s All Right. Hot on its heels comes Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Two’s 1955 single Folsom Blues. Jerry Lee Lewis and His Pumping Pianp then fittingly, chips in with Wild One (Real Wild Child). It would later be covered by Iggy Pop and become one of his most memorable songs. 

Back at Sun Records, had what nowadays, is regarded as an the enviable roster. Johnny Cash’s career was beginning to blossom. He recorded Rock Island Line in the late fifties, and it was released in various territories worldwide during the sixties and seventies. Meanwhile, Roy Orbison recorded a A Cat Called Domino 1957, which  a reminder of a truly talented singer and songwriter. The same can be said of Carl Perkins, who sometimes, doesn’t receive the credit he deserved. Partly, that’s with having to live in Elvis’ shadow. Maybe if he had been signed to a different label, Carl Perkins would’ve enjoyed more commercial success. An example of this is Matchbox, which Carl Perkins wrote and released as a single in February 1957. Despite its undeniable quality, it failed to make an impression on the charts. Neither did Earl Hooker’s instrumental of The Hucklebuck when it was released in 1977. This lightweight novelty song is transformed courtesy of a driving piano and Earl Hooker’s guitar. It’s a fitting and irresistible way to close The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults.

That’s the story of the latest Sun Records’ retrospective, The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. It was recently released on 180 gram heavyweight orange vinyl, and exclusively retailed through Sainsbury’s. It’s the perfect starting place for anyone whose yet to discover the delights of Sun Records. This should be part of their musical education. After all, Sun Records was one of the most important labels in the history of music.

Sun Records was home to everyone from Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis to Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and the Silver Fox Charlie Rich. That’s not forgetting Warren Smith, The Miller Sisters, Billy Lee Riley and Earl Hooker. They all feature on The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. Some of their best known tracks feature on this double album, and will be instantly recognisable to music lovers of all ages. However, with only 1,000 copies available, anyone wanting a copy will have to be quick.

Already, copies are becoming hard to find. Sadly, as is often the case, scalpers not real music music fans bought many copies of The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. That’s been the case with previous limited edition releases from the ones released by HMV, Tesco and now Sainsbury’s. They’ve tried to ensure that customers are only able to buy one copy. Alas, this is very hard to police. Many  parasites posing as music fans have managed to buy multiple copies. They then sell them on the after market at a huge markup. This means real music fans may be unable to discover the delights of The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. That to me is a great shame, as The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults is reminder of what was one of the most important record label in musical history.

THE SUN RECORDS ROCK ’N’ COLLECTION-40 ROCKIN’ GREATS FROM THE SUN VAULTS-LIMITED EDITION VINYL

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