April’s Record Club: Sun Records & The Million Dollar Quartet with Bill Jubb

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On Thursday 10th April, Glossop Record Club regular and rock & roll historian Bill Jubb takes the helm for a session dedicated to Sun, the Memphis record label and recording studio that launched the careers of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and many more, along with also being the birthplace of rock & roll.

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The label was a melting pot of styles – rockabilly, country, blues, gospel, R’n’B – with a roster of white and black artists. In the session, Bill will take us through the history of the label with key records from Sun’s 1950s heyday, with particular attention being paid to the legendary ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ impromptu jam session, when Presley, Cash, Perkins and Lewis all happened to be in the studio at the same time on a Tuesday in December, 1956. Studio enginer ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement ran a tape on the session, bootlegs of which appeared in the early 1970s with the first of many official releases appearing in 1981.

We’ll also hear music from Presley, Cash, Perkins and Lewis on their own, plus Rufus Thomas, Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich amongst others. All on vinyl, of course.

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Sun Records still continues to exert an influence on music to this day, with Jack White’s Third Man Records recently embarking on a reissue series of 7″ singles, and the events of the Million Dollar Quartet jam being turned into an international stage musical.

Have a listen to this mix of Sun classics to get you in the mood for the session.


SUN RECORDS and THE MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET with Bill Jubb
Thursday 10th April, 8-11pm.
Glossop Labour Club, Chapel Street, Glossop, SK13 8AT.
FREE ADMISSION


Finally, with Record Store Day just around the corner, author of Last Shop Standing, Graham Jones, comes to Glossop Record Club on Thursday 8th May to share his entertaining tales of UK record shops and the dodgy dealings of the music industry. He’ll also be playing one of his favourite albums in full. The Radio Shed will host a quiz, with music goodies up for grabs, and if you’re one of the dedicated types who’ll be making an early morning trek to brave the queues for Record Store Day, this will be your chance to share the precious hard-won vinyl you’ve picked up. That will include me! Full details next month.

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A splendid time is guaranteed for all

So you think you’ve heard it all before? There’s definitely a case to be made for Sgt Pepper being the most over-rated album ever. For years, it regularly topped ‘best album’ polls whether voted for by critics or fans. But at some point over the last 15 years, it started to fall from favour. Overfamiliarity means it is now often passed over, with Abbey Road having become the more highly regarded album from The Beatles output (I prefer A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver and the White Album myself, thanks for asking!). Pepper may still make the top ten in these polls, but it’s not the talking point it once was.

However, giving the album my full attention for the first time in many years the other night (and at high volume), I found myself hearing it with fresh ears and a new perspective. Part 1 of the Merseybeat mixtape (covering the years 1963 to 1967) put the album firmly in context, and clearly showed what a huge leap forward this brilliantly inventive album was at the time. McCartney’s fluid and melodic bass playing throughout the album steals the show. The Indian percussion on Within You Without You is another highlight, as is Lennon messing around at the end of Lovely Rita. While listening, I found myself noticing long-forgotten small details and was thoroughly swept along by the music, smiling and laughing along the way.

Overrated or underrated? Listen again…

Anyway…

My thanks to Steve Roberts for choosing two great albums and sharing his stories of the Liverpool music scene. Whilst Sgt Pepper may have been familiar to most who were there, I think it’s probably fair to say that very few had heard the Rockin’ Horse album before, myself included. It’s the mark of good songs that after just one listen (and several days later) I still find myself humming them. With echoes of Badfinger and latter day Beatles, the nearest comparison I can draw is the first Big Star album, particularly the songs of Chris Bell. Definitely one to check out if you’re partial to a bit of 70s power pop.

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I’d also like to thank Roy Berry for sending me a couple of Merseybeat rarities to include on the ‘mixtape’, and to Brett, Matt, Rick, Jonathan and the other Steve for bringing Liverpool records to share. An extra ‘thank you’ to Matt for the photos.

The next session is on Thursday 10th April – Sun Records and The Million Dollar Quartet, hosted by record club regular Bill Jubb. More details soon.

MUSIC PLAYED

Listen to the digital highlights mix here.

The Beatles – I Feel Fine (7”, Parlophone, 1964)
Cast – Alright (7”, Polydor, 2005)
The Teardrop Explodes – Bouncing Babies (7”, Zoo Records, 1979)
The Teardrop Explodes – Books (7”, Zoo Records, 1979)

The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Parlophone, 1967. 2012 reissue)

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Side One: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends/Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds/Getting Better/Fixing A Hole/She’s Leaving Home/Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite

Side Two: Within You Without You/When I’m Sixty-Four/Lovely RIta/Good Morning, Good Morning/Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)/A Day In The Life

The Tambourines – Taxman (live) (She Blows My Mind EP, Long Beach Records, 1991)
Kenny Everett – Nice Time (7”, Deram, 1969)
Freddie Starr and The Midnighters – It’s Shaking Time (7”, Decca, 1963)
Rain – Lemonstone Desired (7”, Columbia, 1991)
Unknown – Eleanor Rigby (white label)
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Souvenir (Architecture & Morality, Dindisc, 1981)
The Wild Swans – Revolutionary Spirit (12” Zoo, 1982)
Frank Sidebottom – Twist And Shout (Medium Play EP, In Tape, 1990)
The Hokum Clones – Breakin’ From A Jailhouse Blues (7”, For Us Records, 2003)
Echo & The Bunnymen – Rescue (Songs To Learn And Sing, Korova, 1985)

Rockin’ Horse – Yes It Is (Philips, 1971. Sing Sing reissue, 2012)

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Side One: Biggest Gossip In Town/Oh Carol, I’m So Sad/You’re Spending All My Money/Baby Walk Out With Your Darlin’ Man/Don’t You Think I Ever Cry/Yes It Is

Side Two: Stayed Out Late Last Night/Delicate Situation/Son, Son/Golden Opportunity/I’m Trying To Forget You/Julian The Hooligan

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The Real People – The Truth (7” Columbia, 1991)
Half Man Half Biscuit – Dickie Davies Eyes (7”, Probe Plus, 1986)
The Norrie Paramor Orchestra – Theme From Z-Cars (7”, Columbia, 1962)
The Lightning Seeds – Pure (7”, Ghetto Recording Company, 1989)
The Scaffold – Lily The Pink/Thank U Very Much (EP, EMI, 1977)
Ken Dodd – Tears (20 Golden Greats, Warwick Records)
Lily Savage – Tough At The Top (12”, Nightmare Records, 1988)
Alexei Sayle – Play That Funky Music Jewish Boy (Panic, CBS, 1985)
Norman Vaughan – Things Are Swingin’ (A Touch Of The Norman Vaughans, Pye Golden Guinea, 1968)
Arthur Askey – I’m A Little Wrong Note (Hello Playmates, Oriole, 1957)
Jimmy Tarbuck – Let’s Dance (Jimmy Tarbuck, RCA Victor, 1968)

Merseybeat (…and beyond) mixtape

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The Big Three – Some Other Guy (1963)
Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas – Bad To Me (1963)
The Fourmost – I’m In Love (1963)
The Swinging Blue Jeans – You’re No Good (1964)
Gerry & The Pacemakers – Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying (1964)
The Eyes – She (1965)
The Mojos – Everything’s Alright (1964)
The Merseys – Sorrow (1966)
The Kirkbys – Penny In My Pocket (1966)
The Searchers – Popcorn, Double Feature (1967)
Wimple Winch – Save My Soul (1966)
Koobas – Gypsy Fred (1967)
The 23rd Turnoff – Michael Angelo (1967)
The Remo Four – In The First Place (1967)
Jackie Lomax – Sour Milk Sea (1968)
Stealing Sheep – Genevieve (2012)
Miles Kane – Better Left Invisible (2011)
The Coral – Don’t Think You’re The First (2003)
The La’s – Feelin’ (1990) Shack – Cup Of Tea (2006)
Ian McNabb – Liverpool Girl (2001)
Half Man Half Biscuit – The Trumpton Riots (1986)