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Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:10 pm

George Smith wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:One rumour I have yet to confirm is the possibility that Elvis ran down some of the blues he loved, along with the pop and country numbers we all know about, at the formal audition for Sam Phillips on the afternoon of June 26, 1954. This would include "That's All Right."

The notion makes sense, as the ballad Sam played for him, "Without You," was clearly sung by an African-American. And when Elvis could not nail down a good recording the teenager allegedly played a little bit of everything to show the producer he was worthy of a second look. Why would the blues be left out? Elvis knew the Sun output to date, and it was heavy on blues in the past year, with records by Little Milton, James Cotton, Billy 'the Kid' Emerson, Doctor Ross, Little Junior's Blue Flames, Rufus Thomas, Jr and the Prisonaires.

And, if true, it would have been just like Sam to keep quiet during the Monday evening "rehearsal on tape" that he set up with Elvis, Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Phillips was looking for chemistry, for the moment, and it had to happen without any meddling.

All valid points, John, thank you.

The question of what Elvis actually played for Sam is a crucial one. I'd generally assumed that Elvis did indeed play pretty much everything he knew in his audition: pop, country, blues, Gospel, black, white. But this doesn't seem to join up with Sam's reaction to hearing the Crudup number on the Monday night.

You're quite right about Elvis knowing the Sun catalogue, I'm sure about that. I don't know my Sun history as well as I should (or as well as Elvis did, for that matter) but I presume that the RnB material was all sung by black artists and the hillbilly material was all sung by white artists. Is there a Sun precedent for an artist stepping over the fence in either direction?

Elvis was an odd-looking flashy-dressing white country boy with a guitar: why would anyone assume he knew / liked / sang the blues?

I don't have many answers but I have lots of questions.

Prior to Sun 209, my vote for a crossover Sun artist would be Harmonica Frank Floyd and his July 1954 release:


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Harmonica Frank, "Rockin' Chair Daddy," (Sun 205, July 1, 1954)

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:46 pm

George, great stuff man. This is what makes FECC the only Elvis site to visit. Just fantastic.

You produce a very thought provoking argument which holds a lot of weight. It makes that song even more magical to listen to.

I have kind of thought about this before, not quite to the extent you present, but there was something about the story that a record that perfect and original could be so spontaneous and recorded so quickly that seemed almost impossible to me.

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:01 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:Prior to Sun 209, my vote for a crossover Sun artist would be Harmonica Frank Floyd and his July 1954 release:
Harmonica Frank, "Rockin' Chair Daddy," (Sun 205, July 1, 1954)

Yes! Great answer, John. Frank always came across as more of a splendidly dirty old man to me, compared to Elvis' sexy hoodlum.

But I wonder if Sam Phillips was expecting Elvis to be another Doug Poindexter: both tracks featuring Scotty (co-writer, too) and Bill and released just as Phillips was listening to "Without You" for the first time.
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Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:07 pm

Good Time Charlie wrote:I have kind of thought about this before, not quite to the extent you present, but there was something about the story that a record that perfect and original could be so spontaneous and recorded so quickly that seemed almost impossible to me.

Yeah, there's a lot of unanswered questions, Charlie: it's great shame that EP never sat down with a serious reporter in his later years and talked about his music.

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:12 pm

WOWZA!!!

I have no other word for it. Unless someone beats me to it I'm going to write a book detailing some of the superb short stories/analysis members have shared with fellow fans over the years on FECC.

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:11 pm

To me the most interesting post ever !
Thanks a lot !
:D

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:36 pm

Delboy wrote:WOWZA!!!

I have no other word for it. Unless someone beats me to it I'm going to write a book detailing some of the superb short stories/analysis members have shared with fellow fans over the years on FECC.


An essay collection would be a nice idea! (You have to ask everybody, of course, but I'm sure everyone will be glad to contribute!)

Great idea!

rjm

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:53 pm

Great indeed!!! Can't add much more than my full apreciation to your hard work. THANKS!!!!

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:47 pm

jurasic1968 wrote:Last time he sang That's All Right in June 1977 in Elvis in concert TV special. Not great, but is worth watching this because of the history significance

It's pretty decent though, especally for the period. I think Elvis always maintained his respect for Crudup.

Great post George.

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:26 pm

Wow. Monumental stuff George.

It seems to me, with some of the brilliant research and writing by yourself, Doc and some others, that the real Elvis Presley Story is being written right here on the pages of this forum.

Delboy, start writing that book!

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:54 pm

While you guys are on that research, it would be great to find out if Elvis first did "TARM" in the slower " Classic Crudup" style- and which got Sam to work on it: apparently they did that for " Blue Moon of Kentucky" when we can hear Sam say " Hell! that's different, thats a pop song now", I do not remember the actual words Sam used.... and also who had the idea to change the melody for "Mystery Train" .........did Sam not say that it was the " greatest thing I ever did on Elvis " ...... ?

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:45 pm

jbgude wrote:While you guys are on that research, it would be great to find out if Elvis first did "TARM" in the slower " Classic Crudup" style- and which got Sam to work on it:

Hi, jbgude, I'm not sure what you mean by the slower "Classic Crudup" style.

If there was a classic Crudup style it was probably the uptempo "That's All Right" / "My Baby Left Me" format.

Crudup did do many lovely slower blues (his material is highly recommended, needless to say) but I can't imagine that Elvis would have tried this song at a slower pace.

As a young Elvis fan, I had assumed that Crudup's original single would have been a slow blues and that Elvis had picked up the tempo for his version, but that wasn't the way it worked. If anything, Crudup's single is perhaps faster and wilder than his number one fan's take.

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:48 pm

Fantastic post, George! Very well researched and with some great observations make this a riveting read.

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:19 pm

Just wanted to check in and say Thank You to the assorted posters who left such kind responses yesterday: it is very much appreciated.

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:10 pm

jbgude wrote:While you guys are on that research, it would be great to find out if Elvis first did "TARM" in the slower " Classic Crudup" style- and which got Sam to work on it: apparently they did that for " Blue Moon of Kentucky" when we can hear Sam say " Hell! that's different, thats a pop song now", I do not remember the actual words Sam used.... and also who had the idea to change the melody for "Mystery Train" .........did Sam not say that it was the " greatest thing I ever did on Elvis " ...... ?

This is a bit off-topic, but yes, Sam did.

But it's very possible Elvis was the impetus for the arrangement. The flip side of the original "Mystery Train" Sun single by Little Junior's Blue Flames was "Love My Baby," and the deep groove and irresistible guitar hook of that B-side is what Elvis brought to his cover of the A-side.


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Little Junior's Blue Flames, "Love My Baby" (Sun 192, November 1953)
Note: The guitar player's chord change miscue at 1:22 ... it didn't matter to producer Sam Phillips.
The feeling was there, so that was the master. Done. God bless Sun Records.


One and one is two
Two and two is four

One and one is two
Two and two is four

Well, I love you baby
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:25 pm

Amazing post! Thanks!
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:40 pm

Angles wrote:Amazing post! Thanks!

Image

Had you heard "Love My Baby" before?

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:10 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Angles wrote:Amazing post! Thanks!

Image

Had you heard "Love My Baby" before?


Not that particular version. The only version I had heard previously is Hayden Thompson's faster cover version (it's on a Sun Studios box set I own - it sounds to me to have a very similar sound to Elvis' version of Mystery Train).

Amongst all the silly threads and point scoring we see on this board, there are some great threads with contributions from people who have fantastic knowledge of popular music history. This thread in particular adds a really interesting context to a song I have listened to countless times and I am very grateful for that.


::rocks

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Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:22 am

Right on. This is what it's all about.

::rocks

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:18 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Prior to Sun 209, my vote for a crossover Sun artist would be....

Harmonica Frank, "Rockin' Chair Daddy," (Sun 205, July 1, 1954)


Harmonica Frank Floyd certainly had a unique style, but I tend to think that the song would have been a little too primitive for pop radio.

Another Sun artist who would be considered primitive, but possessed a wonderfully expressive voice was Howard Serratt. His recording of "Troublesome Waters" has the same plaintive quality that Sam Phillips heard in the voices of singers like Johnny Bragg and the unknown singer of "Without You", as well as Elvis Presley.

Serratt could not be persuaded by Phillips to record anything other than gospel music, but I think that the quality of his voice had pop crossover potential if he could have been persuaded to perform secular material.

And, speaking of Johnny Bragg, the Prisonaires could certainly have made a run at the pop charts. Unfortunately, I think their success was limited by Sun's limited distribution and the fact that Rock & Roll was still a year or so away from the explosion that brought many black artists into the pop mainstream.

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:49 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Little Junior's Blue Flames, "Love My Baby" (Sun 192, November 1953)
Note: The guitar player's chord change miscue at 1:22 ... it didn't matter to producer Sam Phillips.
The feeling was there, so that was the master. Done. God bless Sun Records.


One and one is two
Two and two is four

One and one is two
Two and two is four


Well, I love you baby
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go
Never let you go

Great addition to the thread, John, thank you: note the Crudup-esque (highlighted) lyrics and Elvis would have known this.

Check out the title and chorus of this and tell me it wasn't in the back of Elvis' mind when he cut his fourth single.

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Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:17 am

George, it just gets better! Yes, indeed . . . "come back baby, come."

If anyone knows, because I'm not sure, who is playing guitar on that first version of "Love My Baby"? That sounds so rockabilly!

rjm

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:26 am

For Presley's version of "Mystery Train", Scotty Moore borrowed the guitar riff from Parker's "Love My Baby", played by Pat Hare. "Love My Baby" and "Mystery Train" are considered important contributions to the rockabilly genre.

Wikipedia

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:24 pm

George this is so amazing!! You rock man!! :smt023

Re: The Crudup Connection: 5 July 1954 Revisited

Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:58 pm

Rtn 2 Sndr wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Prior to Sun 209, my vote for a crossover Sun artist would be....

Harmonica Frank, "Rockin' Chair Daddy," (Sun 205, July 1, 1954)


Harmonica Frank Floyd certainly had a unique style, but I tend to think that the song would have been a little too primitive for pop radio.

Of course, but what George Smith asks is not whether something taped before Elvis at Sun was commercially viable, but of a crossover style. What I mean is "Rockin' Chair Daddy" definitely straddles country and blues.